Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
EU competition law
Competition law is one of the areas of authority of the European Union. It comprises three main policy areas:
- Antitrust: control of collusion and other anti-competitive behaviour which has an effect on the EU (or, since 1994, the European Economic Area).
- Mergers: control of proposed mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures involving companies which have a certain, defined amount of turnover in the EU/EEA.
- State aid: control of direct and indirect aid given by EU Member States to companies.
This last point is a unique characteristic of the EU competition law regime. As the EU is made up of independent member states, both competition policy and the creation of the European single market could be rendered ineffective were member states free to support national companies as they saw fit.
Primary competence for applying EU competition law rests with European Commission and its Directorate General for Competition, although state aids in some sectors, such as transport, are handled by other Directorates General. On 1 May 2004 a decentralised regime for antitrust came into force which is intended to increase the application of EU competition law by national competition authorities and national courts.
- 2004, December. The EU rules against a Energias de Portugal SA Gas de Portugal SA merger.
- 2004, December. The EU rules to force Microsoft to offer a Microsoft Windows version without the Windows Media Player preinstalled within the European Union.
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