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European Competition Law Procedural Reform - introduction

Francisco Enrique González-Díaz, Alvaro Fomperosa Rivero, Competition Law & Policy Debate, Volume 3, Issue 3, September 2017

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Since the entry into force of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, national competition authorities (“NCAs”), commentators and stakeholders have suggested numerous modifications to improve European competition enforcement and fairness. The European Commission’s (hereinafter the “Commission”) proposal to strengthen the powers of NCAs —the so-called “ECN (European Competition Network)+ Reform”— has the potential to introduce long-awaited changes that are likely to respond to a significant part of the demand for reform. The Commission has not addressed, however, other amply and sometimes hotly debated requests. More discussion on the merits and demerits of further procedural reform appears thus necessary. In what follows we first briefly summarize the process leading to the ECN+ Reform and outline the most salient requests for reform made during this process. We next outline the claims to improve fairness in European competition enforcement in the wider framework of Regulation 1/2003, and identify a few areas where improvement may be necessary. We conclude with a few ideas that may contribute to the debate on the right mix between enforcement powers and due process in competition law enforcement.

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