Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Thursday, April 8, 2021

On the Phenomenon of International Cooperation – From Networks of Authorities to Networks of People

On the Phenomenon of International Cooperation – From Networks of Authorities to Networks of People


Mateusz Błachucki

Polish Academy of Sciences (INP PAN) - Institute of Law Studies


International cooperation between national competition authorities (NCAs) has developed leaps and bounds in recent decades. It takes various forms, depending on the needs and the goals of the participating authorities. It began with bilateral cooperation and often transformed into much more complex structures. The significant propagation of fora devoted to the development of competition law cooperation at an international level – such as the International Competition Network (ICN), OECD or UNCTAD, and at a regional level – such as the European Competition Network (ECN), Merger Working Group (MWG UE), European Competition Authorities (ECA) or Nordic Co-operation, is currently an undeniable fact.

The success of the cooperation, regardless of whether it is bilateral cooperation or through a network, is determined by the human factor. Mutual respect, trust and openness are among the basic conditions for effective cooperation between authorities and institutions, and are crucial for the success of a given network. Although this may seem like a truism, without well-developed relations between the officers of NCAs involved in international cooperation, the latter could not develop so well. International cooperation between NCAs is largely deformalised, as networks often operate without a physical dimension, not to mention a secretariat or other permanent structure. Without commitment based on the mutual respect and trust of those responsible for this cooperation in NCAs, neither bilateral cooperation nor transnational networks of NCAs would certainly have developed so much.

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