Paradigm Shift in European Competition Law
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
During the last decade, European competition law went through several procedural changes, which were mainly influenced by US-American law. Economic criteria rather than legal parameters are now used to evaluate the conduct of firms. Such a “more economic approach” is apparent both in legislation and jurisdiction.
The article discusses the reforms that resulted from the paradigm shift by focusing on the legislation perspective as well as their impact in terms of cartels. One of the most important instruments in European competition policy is nowadays the Leniency Regulation, which was implemented in 1996. Another tool are the renewed Fining Guidelines, which in general will lead to higher fines.
Although European competition law adopted some instruments from American law, there are still major differences between the two jurisdictions. The possibility to impose jail sentences does not exist on a European level yet. However, a few European countries included criminal sanctions in their national laws.