Review of Industrial Organization (2006) 29:281–304 © Springer 2006
The Year 2005 at DG Competition: The Trend
towards a More Effects-Based Approach
and OLIVER STEHMANN
European School of Management and Technology, Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Chief Economist Team, DG Competition, Rue Joseph II, 70, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Abstract. This ﬁrst review of the European Commission’s Directorate General for
Competition (DG COMP) gives an overview on DG COMP’s mandate and the main
developments of 2005. The discussion includes institutional and policy developments, as
well as the main competition policy decisions and Court judgments in the merger, anti-
trust, and state aid areas. It is argued that the trend towards a more effects-based analysis
in EU competition policy had an impact on the assessment of competition cases, as well
as on the development of soft law. For example, the effects-based approach was put high
on the agenda with the publication of the Article 82 discussion paper. Similarly, the pub-
lication of the State Aids Action Plan (SAAP) launched a “more economic approach” in
European state aid assessment. In line with its objective to focus resources on key sectors,
two major inquiries were launched in the energy and ﬁnancial sectors.
Key words: Competition policy, effects-based approach, antitrust, state aids, mergers.
This is the ﬁrst review of the European Commission’s Directorate General
for Competition (DG COMP) in the “Antitrust and Regulatory Update”.
Since the institutional and legal setting of COMP is different from the US
antitrust agencies, we not only summarize the main developments of 2005,
but also provide a general overview of DG COMP’s mandate.
DG COMP is in a unique position within the European Community,
because it has direct enforcement powers and does not depend on national
governments. The European Treaty deﬁnes competition as a principal goal,
and the general rules governing antitrust and state aid control are included
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not in
any way represent an ofﬁcial position of the European Commission. Until 1 September
2006, Lars-Hendrik Roeller was the Chief Economist at DG Competition. He is now the
President of the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin and
a Professor at Humboldt University.
Author for correspondence. E-mail: Oliver.Stehmann@ec.europa.eu