Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Since the inception of the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the Member States have recognized that activities to restrict competition and abuses of dominant positions in business could seriously hinder the free flow of goods and services and the creation of a common market within the Community. The Treaty of Rome provides that one activity of the Community shall be "the institution of a system ensuring that competition in the Common Market is not distorted." Articles 85 and 86 form the basis of this system. Article 85 contemplates control of cartels and concerted anticompetitive practices. Article 86 concerns abuses of dominant positions or monopolies. The European Communities Council, the principal legislative body of the EEC, is required to promulgate regulations effecting the principles of articles 85 and 86. The Commission, the chief executive body of the EEC, is directed to apply those regulations and to investigate and control possible infringements. Decisions of the Commission may be appealed directly to the Court of Justice.

After a period of adjustment and organization for the Community, the Council in 1962 adopted Regulation 17/62, the initial implementation of articles 85 and 86. The Regulation provides that violations of those articles are punishable by fines and penalties. In addition to the Commission's enforcement of the competition rules, Regulation 17/62 authorizes the Member States to take action if the Commission has not instituted proceedings.

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