22 June 2007

The End of Competition?

Breaking news, the EU's committment to 'undistorted competition' looks likely to disappear if the revised Treaty is agreed during the German summit. Excellent coverage in the peerless Financial Times suggests that this is President Sarkozy's doing (funny that, he is supposed to be a right-winger elected on a reform ticket) who was still upset by his clashes with the Commission when he tried to bail out French firms.

This could be significant because of the European Court often referring to the basic principles of EC Law found in the foundational articles in order to interpret EC Law, the so called teleological interpretation (purposive interpretation for the common lawyers). Surely the court cannot but be persuaded that if competition was an objective under the old Treaty, its disappearance indicates that the Court should depart from some of its basic principles. The Daily Telegraph reports fears that this chips away at one of the few good things the EC was actually good at.

However, according to the British (who apparently traded this concession for something else) this is just cosmetic, see Spiegel Online. This is also how the issue is seen by the Commission, who suggest that this would not affect the key role competition plays.

We will have to see the text of the Treaty as a whole before being certain of what this all means, but this goes to show how the pendulum can swing quite quickly from the Lisbon agenda and Mario Monti's DG Competition promoting competition and today's increased protectionism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyway the Polish will block the Treaty... or else we should have a referendum somewhere (the UK?) then this Treaty can also be aborted.

The Guardian on line has a nice article too: http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,2109368,00.html