Merger Control and Competition Policy in Central East Europe in view

This study reviews the progress made in EU accession candidates with respect to competition policy. The analysis shows that institution building and legislation is well under way and that anti-trust practise is not too lax. Due to the diversity among the accession countries under review, the study finds that the strictly rule-based framework of the EU might not represent the most favourable solution for some candidates: firstly, the small and open economies of most candidates make it particularly difficult to define the “relevant market” in competition cases. Secondly, the traditionally intense vertical integration of production in accession states calls for a reassessment of “vertical restraints”. The policy implications of this study suggest that the EU competition task force should take a rather proactive, case-by-case approach vis-à-vis its new members.

01. July 2003

Authors Johannes Stephan

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