chapter  4
16 Pages

European competition regulation in the era of embedded liberalism

This chapter explains the development of European competition units of regulation in the 1960s and 1970s. It argues that national and EC level competition regulation formed part of the institutionalised nexus of the broader post-war hegemonic order of state-organised capitalism known as ‘embedded liberalism’, and the responses to the ‘American challenge’. Although European competition units continued to be shaped by the neoliberal and national mercantilist discourses, elements of centre-left and Euro-mercantilist discourses were incorporated into the formation of competition rules and their enforcement. The resulting regulation of competition was politically legitimised with references to social inclusion, full employment goals and inter-class solidarity, thereby refl ecting the wider class compromise between organised labour and industrial capital fractions of the mixed economies of Europe. The fi rst two sections outline the broader socioeconomic context. The third section focuses on the development of national competition regulation, particularly regarding the content and form of the merger subunits of regulation that appeared in the UK, Germany and France in this period. Section four and fi ve examine the development and enforcement of EC competition regulation during this phase and section six explains the failure to reach agreement in the 1970s on an EC level merger control regulation.