Informations and abstract
Keywords: European Competition Network, Decentralised Application of EU antitrust.
This essay examines the first five years of application of Regulation no. 1/2003, focussing particularly on the decentralised application of European antitrust provisions by NCAs. The basic choice by the European legislator has been that of emphasising the theory of direct effect enjoyed by articles 81 and 82 EC (now 101 and 102 TFEU), coupling this choice with the establishment of «informal» procedures within the European Competition Network (ECN) regarding cooperation, exchange of information, discovery and cases allocation. Yet, the existence of different national regimes on NCAs, their powers and their enforcement capabilities, together with the absence of any transparency on the ECN work, threatens uniform application of EU antitrust rules and may jeopardise firms' rights of defence. The essay therefore proposes some solutions in order to try to restore and adequate balance: the application of the principles on public access to documents also for the ECN internal procedures, a stronger judicial control on NCAs' decisions and finally an enhanced cooperation between national courts and European institutions, particularly the ECJ.