The area of EC Competition Law has experienced major structural and substantial changes over the past two decades. The last decade of reforms of EC Competition Law is often cited as the « modernisation process » . Since competition rules always apply to a « market », this notion have been at the center of the evolution of EC Competition. As such, it seems necessary to define concretely this term. Indeed, competition do not exist in abstract. It is a practical fact. Throughout the evolution of EC Competition Law, the significant debate about this notion, its definition, characteristics and boundaries reveal the fact that this instrument is at the center of EC Competition Law. To validate our statement, we can look at what the Court of First Instance tell us about this tool : « the appropriate definition of the market in question is a necessary precondition of any judgment concerning allegedly anti competitive behavior » . The European Court of Justice also stated that the definition of the market is of fundamental significance .
[...] DABBAH, Cambridge EC Competition Law, Second Edition, Alison JONES and Brenda SUFRIN, Oxford Articles Applying the Market Definition Guidelines of the European Commission Simon BAKER and Lawrence WU, European Common Law Review p. 273-280 Modernising European Competition Law : A Developmental Perspective David J. GERBER, European Common Law Review p. 122-130 Competition Economics and Policy John VICKERS, European Common Law Review p. 95-102 Market Dominance : Measurement Problems and Mistakes Joao PEARCE de AZEVEDO and Mike WALKER, European Common Law Review p.640-643 The Competition Between Law and Economics Michael HUTCHINGS, European Common Law Review p. [...]
[...] Yet, as we pointed out this should not be the only tool used by decisions-makers. So far, EC Competition Law has always found a way to balance between differents interests, always keeping in the mind the purpose of his policy. EC Competition Law is one of the best example of the political aim pursued by Competition Law as a whole. It is not only about imposing rules to protect competition on the European Common Market. The ultimate goal is for Members States, their citizens and firms to feel that they belong to an entity. [...]
[...] Morever, the definition can vary as regards as what the Commission goal is : existing market (art EC) or potential market (merger). In relation to mergers, the market can be define a bit wider. Let us suppose now that we agree on a common definition. Even then, evidence to define the relevant market are really hard to find. Evidence used for the definition includes both quantitative and qualitative datas such as price levels, views of customers and competitors, consumer preferences, barriers and costs associated with switching demand to potential substitutes. And then, even if we find the evidence, it can be misleading. [...]
[...] Having identify the essential role of the relevant market in the application of EC Competition Law throught the notion of market power, we should adopt now a critical point of view. Indeed, the application of the rules requires undoubfully a proper market definition. Unfortunately, sometimes, this notion is understood in various ways, and even if a common definition is shared, evidence are sometimes hard to find. As we will discuss below, it seems that the relevant market is a useful tool but have to be used along with other instruments and considerations. [...]
[...] Indeed, competition do not exist in abstract. It is a practical fact. Throught the evolution of EC Competition Law, the significant debate about this notion, its definition, characteristics and boundaries reveal the fact that this instrument is at the center of EC Competition Law. To validate our statement, we can look at what the Court of First Instance tell us about this tool : the appropriate definition of the market in question is a necessary precondition of any judgment concerning allegedly anticompetitive behaviour The European Court of Justice also stated that definition of the market is of fundamental significance”. [...]
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