Perspectives on EU Competition Policy
Table of Contents
The 1989 Merger Regulation, Neofunctionalism and Spillover 2
M&As at the National and EC level 1983-1990 5
The Need for an Additional Approach: Regulation 1/2003 and New Institutionalism 6
Competition policy is a major policy area within the European Union (EU), and it has been a core executive function for the European Commission since 1962. Being an area of exclusive competence of the EU and with the Directorate-General of Competition (DG Competition) firmly in power, it constitutes an interesting case for understanding the European integration process and the contemporary consequences for business. Two major policy changes, in 1989 and in 2003, make it possible to investigate how to accurately explain the development in the area. I argue that until 2003, neofunctionalism offers the best analytical tools for understanding the process, as it accurately explains and predicts the expansion of the policy competences of the DG Competition through a variety of spillover-effects, mainly from the Single Market. But while neofunctionalism is analytically advantageous at the macro-level, it is applicable only to a point, as it cannot explain the apparent decentralization of executive power taking place with the introduction of Regulation 1/2003. Here more power was delegated to the national competition authorities (NCAs) at the surface, but at the same time, the Commission significantly increased their relative power position and policy capacity. This changing paradigm can only to a certain degree be understood in a neofunctionalist perspective, and as an additional approach, I introduce New Institutionalism and Rational Choice Institutionalism (RCI) to investigate the issue further. This chain of reasoning suggests that theories of EU...