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Bringing Regulatory Processes Back In: The Reform of EU Antitrust and Merger Control

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JournalWest European Politics
DatePublished - Jul 2009
Issue number4
Volume32
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)738-755
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The dominant view in the literature depicts the modernisation of the antitrust rules and the reform of the Merger Regulation as a struggle for control between the European Commission and the member states, from which the Commission emerged triumphant. This article rejects this ‘power politics’ interpretation, arguing that its proponents misrepresent the reform process, overstate the power of the Commission, and overlook the wider ideational context that influences competition law and policy. Drawing on original research conducted by the authors, it argues that a regulatory processes perspective is more sensitive to the dynamics of decision-making and policy change in this key area. Re-interpreting the two reforms, it demonstrates that more was at play than a simple power struggle between the Commission and the member states, that the reforms were influenced by an international expert community, and that the outcome was shaped by classic techniques of regulatory conflict management.

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