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Constructing a Policy-Making State?Policy Dynamics in the EU$
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Jeremy Richardson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604104.001.0001

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Competition Policy: The Evolution of Commission Control

Competition Policy: The Evolution of Commission Control

(p.49) 3 Competition Policy: The Evolution of Commission Control
Constructing a Policy-Making State?

Michael Blauberger

Oxford University Press

The Commission’s relative autonomy in rule-making and enforcement is central for understanding the dynamics of EU competition policy. This chapter explains the evolution of Commission control from a historical-institutionalist perspective: Member states’ basic rationale for assigning independent powers in competition policy to the European Commission is well captured by theories of functional delegation. Yet, what is regarded as a major source of Commission power today, that is the vagueness of many Treaty provisions, was originally perceived as a weakness of European competition policy. Policy entrepreneurship by the Commission and supportive jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice were necessary to gradually translate Treaty rules into actual EU competition policy and to lock-in advances in integration. As an unanticipated result of the growing autonomy of EU competition policy, the Commission has become increasingly confronted with the demands of third parties such as firms and other competition authorities. While these demands impose new constraints on the Commission, they at the same time strengthen its position vis-à-vis member state governments.

Keywords:   antitrust, competition policy, European Commission, liberalisation, merger control, state aid

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