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The Antitrust Revolution in Europe

Exploring the European Commission’s Cartel Policy

Lee McGowan

This insightful and original book considers the evolution, aims and developments of EU antitrust policy, and focuses on the way in which the European Commission has sought to combat cartels.
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Chapter 5: Establishing the Architecture of EU Cartel Governance, 1958–1962

Lee McGowan


In retrospect, the place of competition policy in the history of EU integration seems a somewhat accepted fact. It is now generally recognised as one of the central columns of European governance and some authors have even identified the competition rules as the ‘economic constitution of the EU’ (McGowan, 1997; Wilks, 2009). Strangely, few observers could have predicted some fifty years ago the actual development and success of the EU competition governance regime, given the divergent positions on anti-trust among the original EEC member states. For that matter, few could have predicted the trajectory, evolution and expansion of the entire European integration project. For many ardent ‘integrationalists’ including Monnet (1978) the EEC Treaty seemed to represent a much watered down and looser form of integration which contained fewer supranational characteristics and even appeared to signal the revival of more nationally determined policy preferences. Yet, the overwhelming economics related provisions of the EEC Treaty and the drive for a single market contained the seeds of significant later policy developments from a European space with no barriers for business to one which looks after its workers’ needs and from the promotion of free movement of people to justice and home affairs (Church and Phinnemore, 2002). Competition policy played its part and was identified as one of the few policy objectives in the EEC Treaty base from the outset, and would gradually emerge as arguably the best example of a supranational policy in operation and one which displayed ‘federal’ characteristics.1 The next three...

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