Previous: The free movement of services

Introduction

With free movement rights secured, goods can be freely traded between Member States. With such a large market, there must be a way of securing efficiency and productiveness for EU citizens: consumers. Through competition law, the EU seeks to ensure that the internal market, as created by Art 26 TFEU, remains dynamic. There are several theories on how best to police the internal market:

  • The Harvard School Theory – the structure of a market affects competition, so prevent dominance and monopolies
  • The Chicago School Theory – imperfect competition is a result of high entry barriers, so remove these barriers to allow new players to enter and undercut established players
  • The German Ordoliberalism View – protect consumer welfare first
  • The post-Chicago (modern) approach – trust the judiciary, not the market

Competition law is an exclusive competency area for the EU, as stated by Art 3(1)(b) TFEU. The EU tackles anti-competitive behaviour (or antitrust) in 2 ways:

  • Article 101 TFEU – the prevention of anti-competitive agreements
  • Article 102 TFEU – the prevention of abuse of dominant positions

Complementing these methods are: the EU merger control regulation; Articles 103 and 104 TFEU, which help with the implementation of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU; and Article 106 TFEU, which controls the actions of Member States.

Article 101 TFEU

Art 101(1) prohibits agreements between undertakings, decisions and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States, and which have the object or effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition within the internal market...

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