Thursday, October 8, 2009
The European Competition Network: Structure, Management and Initial Experiences of Policy Enforcement
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Firat Cengiz, Tilburg Law and Economics Cente explains The European Competition Network: Structure, Management and Initial Experiences of Policy Enforcement.
ABSTRACT: The European Competition Network came into life in 2004 as an atypical network with a relatively hierarchical and highly regulated structure. As a result, predictions regarding the future functioning of this network were largely skeptical at the time of its inception. Now the network is about to complete its fifth year in operation and the European Commission is due to present a report to the European Parliament and the Council regarding experiences of policy enforcement by this network. Therefore, it is particularly timely to have a retrospective look at the European Competition Network and assess its achievements and failures. This paper reviews the structure and management methods of the European Competition Network in the light of the policy network literature and comments on initial experiences with its operation. The paper argues that in general the skeptical predictions regarding the operation of the network have not been realised. The network has been successful particularly in terms of accelerating communication between the competition authorities of Europe and increasing their contribution to the design of European competition policy. However, the paper also reveals certain weaknesses of the operation of this network. Particularly the inefficiencies of investigations by the national competition authorities, the low level of horizontal cooperation between the national competition authorities in individual investigations and the opaque nature of network management appear as matters which need to be addressed to achieve more effective network management.