Competition (Antitrust)

In a market economy, fair competition promotes economic success, safeguarding the interests of consumers and ensuring that businesses, goods, and services are competitive on the world market.

The European Union’s competition policy ensures that healthy competition is not hindered by anticompetitive practices by companies or national authorities.

Like the U.S. government, the European Commission is entitled to review mergers between non-EU companies with certain revenue thresholds that conduct significant business in the EU. It also takes steps to prevent a major industry player squeezing its competitors out of the market.

Unlike U.S. antitrust law, EU rules also prohibit state aid that distorts competition in the internal market. The European Commission has jurisdiction over large-scale mergers and acquisitions affecting more than one Member State and exceeding certain thresholds. The Commission can fine antitrust violators.

EU-U.S. Cooperation

The European Commission cooperates with the U.S. authorities (the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission) primarily on the basis of the 1991 Cooperation Agreement and the 1998 Positive Comity Agreement. The Positive Comity Agreement allows one party adversely affected by anticompetitive behavior in the other’s territory to request that the other party take action.

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