Competition Policy

Imelda Maher

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Competition Policy


Competition policy is a highly technical policy field, which plays a role in wider EU constitutional and governance developments. It is inextricably linked to the internal market, making it a touchstone for popular (and political) opposition to EU integration. How competition law is governed also reflects recent trends in EU governance, and arguably, the field more successfully incorporates new governance methods, with networks and soft law a hallmark of law enforcement. This article first outlines competition law and policy before examining these two themes. It explores the significance of EU competition law and policy for constitutionalization by analysing how the Treaties have been repeatedly revised to reflect the changing relationship between the state and the market. The governance of competition policy, including the emergence of an important enforcement network and prevalence of soft law, is then discussed.

Keywords: competition law; EU governance; law enforcement; constitutionalization; treaties

Article.  5609 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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