Call for the strengthening of the EU competition rules enforcement
Time has come to bring the EU competition enforcement to a new level. The competition rules are and must continue to be an essential pillar of the European Union, the cornerstone of its internal market and a guarantee of the prosperity of its citizens. An overhaul of the EU competition enforcement is necessary but unlike politicians calling for a more” flexible” competition enforcement, we are convinced that EU needs a competition regime which provides robustness, accountability and which is shielded from considerations foreign to this area.
Over time the EU competition rules contributed significantly to the building of the internal market, brought about welfare to the EU citizens and became a familiar presence of the European legal and economic landscape. There were hurdles, errors and shortcomings but all these have been overcome with a combination of wisdom, perseverance and belief in the virtues of the competitive process. The current moment brings new challenges to the old competition rules and there is no doubt that changes are warranted in order to secure the same benefits of the EU competition enforcement. Such changes must not, however, downgrade the competition enforcement at the level of a tool for economic policy, no matter what purpose is claimed in support of such a change. On the contrary, the changes must bring more independence to the process, in order to ensure the EU competition enforcement continues to benefit the internal market and the EU consumers.
These being said, a reinforcement of the EU competition regime must be implemented alongside the following ideas:
- The establishment of a specialised competition enforcement institution in the European Union, which should be tasked with ruling in the enforcement of the competition rules, from sanctioning infringers to merger control.
- The avoidance of any interference from political institutions in the activity of the EU competition enforcement.
- The setting-up of a selection and appointment process for the case-handlers and the management of the future specialised competition enforcement body with an aim to ensure that the best professionals will join its ranks.
Only the changes contemplated above are able to ensure that EU competition enforcement will continue to be strong, efficient and accountable. Only through the implementation of these changes will the European Union continue to be perceived in the world as a beacon of sound competition enforcement. Instead of turning to the past, as proposed by some, we propose to advance vigorously towards the future.
Dr. Valentin Mircea