chapter  7
16 Pages

EC competition regulation at the dawn of the century: modernisation, contestation and crisis

This chapter explains the politics that has driven and shaped the developments in the fi eld of EC competition regulation since the dawn of the 21st century. It analyses the nature and reasons for the 2004 ‘modernisation’ and examines the scale and impact of the growing contestation to the neoliberal type of competition regulation before and during the global economic crisis. The chapter argues that the reform further consolidated the neoliberal course towards a more marked-based and free competition oriented European capitalism, and that so far the crisis responses did not deviate from this. Section one discusses the central elements of the modernisation in the cartel subunit of regulation and ponders on the consequences of the reform steps suggested in a Green and a White Paper in 2005 and 2008 respectively. Section two evaluates the modernisation in the light of the institutional anchoring of neoclassical microeconomic theories, while section three lays bare the driving interest constellation. Section four unravels the reform in merger subunit and the political struggles that preceded it. Section fi ve assesses the growing contestation to the neoliberal course, whilst section six embeds the political responses in the wake of the global economic crisis since 2007 in the broader neoliberal course of regulation.