Accueil > European Union Competition Policy

OAEA 2105 - European Union Competition Policy

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

Competition policy is a powerful instrument to build a single market in Europe. In the course, we will analyse how the European Commission enforces the rules enshrined in the EU Treaty to pursue four kinds of infringements: the existence of cartels and other illegal agreements, the abuse of a dominant position, the elimination of effective competition by mergers or acquisition of companies and the use of State aid to create distortions of competition. After some theoretical aspects, the orientation of the course will be based on practical experiences. The course will be taught by Mr Chapsal (Lectures 1 to 4) and Mr Almunia (Lectures 5 to 12).


  • ALMUNIA, Joaquin (Former EU Commissioner)
  • CHAPSAL, Antoine F. (Economist, MAPP)

Course validation

Exam (33% of the grade): Students will have a 3-hour examination around the middle of the semester, based on the concepts presented during the first four lectures. The exam will consist in basic open questions that will require short answers. Final paper (67% of the grade): students will have to write a 10-page comment on a specific case.

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1: General introduction

  • Presentation of the course: theory and practice
  • What is competition policy? Link between competition and economic welfare
  • The role of law and economics in competition policy
  • Enforcing European competition policy: a short presentation

Session 2: Collusion – Cartel

  • The sustainability of a cartel
  • Cartels and damages: estimating the effect of a cartel
  • The economics of cartel deterrence: optimal fines and leniency programs

Session 3: Abuses of dominance

  • Market power
  • Different kinds of abuses
  • The Chicago Critique
  • The economics of monopolization – Some examples

Session 4: Mergers

  • Definition of a relevant market
  • The potential anticompetitive effects of a merger
  • The economic assessment of a merger case

Session 5

  • Competition as a key policy instrument for the EU integration.
  • Competition and the single market.
  • Competition and regulation. Sectoral regulators and DG COMP.
  • Industrial policy and Competition enforcement.

Session 6 

  • How the EU system works: The Commissioner, the College of Commissioners, the role and structure of DG COMP. The Chief Economist. The Hearing officers. The Legal service. The control by the ECJ.
  • The relations with other Competition authorities (ECN, ICN, OECD)
  • Due process.
  • The fines and its guidelines. Inability to pay.
  • Public and private enforcement. Individual and collective redress.

Session 7 

  • Cartels: Administrative systems v. Court-based criminal systems.
  • How to achieve deterrence. Criminal sanctions? Individual responsibilities?
  • The role of leniency to discover infringements. The role of compliance programs.
  • The settlement procedure. Some big cases.

Session 8 

  • Abuse of Dominance: different types of abuses.
  • The growing importance of the economic analysis. Infringement “by object” and “by effect”
  • The use of Commitment decisions based on art. 9 v. Prohibition decisions based on art. 7.
  • Some big cases.

Session 9

  • Merger control: the definition of the relevant market.
  • The concept of “Significant impediment of effective competition”
  • The different procedures: simplified, “phase 1”, “phase 2”
  • A few negative and positive decisions.
  • The role of ECN to allocate cases.

Session 10: Antitrust from a sectoral perspective

  • Sector inquiries.
  • The network industries: telecom’s, postal services, energy ect.
  • Air transport
  • Digital economy and competition enforcement
  • Intellectual property rights and competition enforcement
  • Standard essential patents: Parma, mobiles etc.

Session 11

  • State Aid decisions. The “no aid” threshold. Block Exemption. Notifications.
  • Criteria to assess the compatibility. Incompatible aid and its consequences.
  • The State Aid Modernisation strategy. The most important non-financial guidelines (energy and environment, regional aid, broadband, R+D, aviation, …)
  • Services of General Economic Interest from the State Aid perspective.

Session 12

  • State Aid in the financial sector. Exceptional regime during the crisis.
  • The cost for tax-payers of the public support of banks during the crisis.
  • The link with Banking Union regulations and instruments