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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 8: The Internationalisation of Cartel Policy and the Challenges Ahead

Lee McGowan


Cartel policy and wider competition policy have played an integral role in the European integration project. Over the course of the last five decades the Commission has been able to carve out for itself a space from which to expand its competition remit, but also one which gradually came to encroach on and influence the shape, style and substance of domestic antitrust regimes throughout the entire European continent. This process of policy convergence has been remarkable. The intensification of the war on cartels over the last decade bears witness to the determination of the European Commission to tackle such anti-competitive activity. It has made significant strides, re-invested its institutional energies and resources and conceived new means of combating cartellisation. Still, the regime is increasingly facing a new and arguably its greatest challenge to date as questions abound about how, where and if cartel enforcement should be regulated at the international level. Pressure for some form of agreement to deal with cartels has been growing since the early 1990s and determination, perseverance, innovative initiatives and higher fines have become the hallmarks of serious anti-cartel regimes. Although major successes can be reported it is fact that not only has cartel activity not been suppressed, but those wishing to engage in such action are going to greater lengths to conceal any such evidence of illegal activity through, for example, the use of encryption software to protect e-mails and anonymous mailboxes. In Industrial Bags evidence was unearthed by the Commission of a company document...

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