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Market Definition in EU Competition Law

Miguel S. Ferro

The maintenance of a fair, competitive market among member states is critical to the functioning of the EU economy. In this book, the first comprehensive, unifying view of market definition, Miguel Ferro adeptly explores the different economic-legal issues that arise in EU competition law.
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Chapter 5: Market definition method in EU competition law: general issues

Miguel S. Ferro


This chapter, together with Chapters 6 to 9, is meant to be a succinct, overall guide to market definition in all markets and contexts. On the basis of an exhaustive analysis of CJEU case-law, as well as references to law and case-law from Member States, and to soft-law and decision-making practice of the European Commission and national competition authorities, this chapter provides a general legal theory of market definition in EU competition law. It discusses the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of this method, and provides a step-by-step approach to be followed. It discusses, inter alia: the existence of an objective and single, homogeneous method of market definition for all cases and all areas of competition law; the inevitability of abstractions and fictions when defining markets; markets’ three-dimensional nature; interchangeability and cross-elasticity as the central pillar of market definition, and the related issue of the SSNIP test and its (limited) importance in the context of EU competition law; and the exclusion of potential competition and indirect competitive pressure from the scope of relevant markets. The analysis is systematically rooted in the identification of relevant case-law, allowing interpreters and practitioners to use this chapter (and the following ones) to identify references to precedents relating to the specific issues that come up in individual cases, and also to determine whether there are additional issues and perspectives which could be considered and may not be evident at first glance.

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