McGowan, Lee (2009) Any Nearer to Victory in the Fifty Years War?: Assessing the European Commission’s Leadership, Weapons and Strategies towards combating Cartels. In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
Some fifty years after its creation EU competition policy remains firmly entrenched as one of the most developed examples of supranational governance within the European Union. Although there has been a marked increase in interest among political scientists in competition policy in recent years there are still gaps in terms of overall coverage. One area that has been largely overlooked centres on cartels. Cartel policy has emerged as a highly salient issue and main priority of the Commission’s competition policy since the late 1990s. Certainly, the recent restructuring of the EU cartel enforcement regime, the imposition of ever higher fines and a determined EU Competition Commissioner have fuelled growing media attention while new notices and regulations increasingly occupy the interests and minds of practitioners. The European Commission has constantly extended its activities on the competition policy front and its increasingly aggressive strategies to combat cartels provides political scientists with a fascinating case study of governance in action and illustrates the ways – such as leniency programmes, higher fines, enhanced and better equipped resources as well as internal reorganisation in which the European regulator is pursuing such conspiracies. This article traces the evolution and development of EU cartel policy since its inception to its decussis mirabilis after 1999 and assesses the Commission’s strategies and considers just to what extent the European Commission is winning its war against business cartelisation.
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