This question could appear really simple, and the first answer that comes is yes of course: with the introduction of European Competition Policy, the EU Commission has an extended power, and can now decide if a company respects competition laws in the Union or not. But this issue is actually more complicated, and is in fact thought-worthy: is this a real power, which enables the Commission to take new measures? Another way to discuss is to look at the issue from companies' point of view: some of them could be now afraid by settling in Europe, because of this increasing power of the Commission. To conclude, we can say that the power given by European Competition policy to the Commission is not absolute. I will thereby try to explain in this paper in what circumstances the Commission more power has now, and what are the aim and the limits of this power.
In a first part, I will present briefly the Commission, and particularly its connection with competition. I will introduce European Competition policy too, in order to explain the role of the Commission, and its theoretical possibilities to take measures concerning competition issues. Then I will analyze some cases of conflict between Commission and companies concerning competition. This analysis will help me to conclude, and to underline the limits of the power of Commission given by European Competition Policy.
[...] The firm was condemned by the European Union for illegal abuse of this near monopoly. Two points were ruled: - Microsoft's operating system Windows 2000 was specially done to advantage Microsoft's softwares, in order to avoid any competitive threat: softwares from other companies (Sun Microsystems, RealNetworks) were deprived. This position was not conforming to the antitrust enforcement of the EU Competition Commission: other softwares developers lacked information, and so were not able to be competitive. - The second point concerns Windows Media Player: Microsoft wanted to include it in its future version of Windows XP. [...]
[...] However European Competition Policy empowers the Commission I'd just like to underline here the fact that the Commission is really important for the Union, in so far as it is the only really independent institution: Commissioners are chosen to represent European interests, and not citizens' or States' ones. That is in fact in this direction that European Competition Policy empowered the Commission, because it is the only institution which goes beyond States interests. It cans then decide if State aids are not too high, or if a merger creates or strengthens the dominant position of a company, whereas governments of members States but European Parliament and [...]
[...] It has three functions: - Executive power: it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council of ministers; - Legislative initiative: the Commission proposes legislation, policies and programs of action; - Enforcement (like in European Competition Policy) 2. Its role in European Competition Policy Its role is to investigate cases bought by third party complainants or on its own initiative. The Commission has in fact the huge responsibility to enforce this European Competition Policy. That means that the Commission should always take care of the European market, and look at companies: if one does not respect the rules of the European market, or is tempted to grow without respecting the welfare trade in the Union, the Commission should take the necessaries measures. [...]
[...] I wanted to present this case because it underlines two main issues for European Competition Policy: the problem of competences of States and of the Commission with the French government which accepted in a first time the monopoly and also the limited power of the Commission, in so far as Hachette is still the far leader of publishing in France, and has in fact almost a dominant position. C. Telecom sector (and TV operators) in Italy 07/2007: The European Commission has sent a formal request to Italy to bring its broadcasting legislation in line with the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications. [...]
[...] Aid for research and innovation, regional development or small and medium-sized enterprises is often allowable because these serve overall EU goals.” Finally, the European Competition Policy is governed by articles 81 and 82 concerning antitrust, monopolies prevention policies and merger control, and by articles 87-89 concerning state aids. B. The Commission Those extracts show the importance of the Commission in the Competition policy: it is the institution which is able to enforce those texts. Let's have a look at this institution, which is so important for the EU, and explain its role in European Competition Policy The Commission It is the executive branch of the European Union. [...]
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