The neoliberalisation of European competition regulation
In the course of the 1980s the neoliberal discourse of regulation increasingly came to prevail in Europe, echoing what is commonly called the Reagan Revolution or Reaganomics in the US and Thatcherism in the UK, as well as the dictatorial regime of Pinochet in Chile. In this period, the content, form and scope of European competition units of regulation underwent a gradual and also contested process of transformation. This chapter illuminates the nature and causes of this process. Section one deals with the crisis of the social order of embedded liberalism. Section two provides an account of the gradual and partial neoliberalisation of national competition units. Section three explores the transition phase of EC competition regulation in the early 1980s, whilst section four and fi ve expose the political role played by transnational capital in the re-launch of the European integration process in the mid-1980s and the neoliberalisation of the EC competition unit. The last two sections address the adoption of the merger control regulation in 1989.