Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Political Science

Post-Accession Effects of Conditionality: New Member States and the Implementation of the EU Competition Policy

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of Political Science

Post-Accession Effects of Conditionality: New Member States and the Implementation of the EU Competition Policy

Article excerpt

The modernization of the EU competition policy has shifted the focus of research from the legal and political implications to the role of national administrations in the implementation process. The 2003 Modernisation Package has granted national competition authorities and national courts competences to directly apply and enforce anti-trust laws, generating concerns as to the effectiveness of the implementation process. Additionally, the EU's Eastern enlargement has brought new challenges to the uniform enforcement of European legislation in general and competition legislation in particular. Competition does not follow the classical pattern of convergence of national legislation since it does not fully shift toward a common European content and style of policy, but still retains national patterns of implementation (Cini, 2003, van Waarden, 2002). Owing to stringent conditionality, Central and Eastern European national administrations were required to rapidly adopt and put into practice an unfamiliar enforcement system in a short period of time, jeopardizing efficient implementation. This article examines the capacity of national administrations to ensure effective policy implementation. It looks comparatively at the performance of national implementing actors (i.e. national competition authorities, national courts) in seven of the new member states comprising the 2004 Eastern enlargement (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). By employing Fuzzy Sets Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) it investigates the causal combinations of factors determining the effectiveness of the process of legal implementation. This research does not assess the actual degree of effectiveness achieved by Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs), but compares their performance to deduce the factors that condition effective implementation. It does not claim to be exhaustive in terms of the issues covered, but to offer an indication as to where to look for further explanations or potential for deregulation related to competition policy enforcement.

The analysis in this article can be generalised for the current economic context, especially from the viewpoint of the importance of the clarity of laws and regulations for the efficient implementation of competition policy. Similarly to the first year of the implementation of the Modernisation Package, the current competition environment is dominated by legal uncertainty, differential application of EU legislation, and a propensity to circumvent existing rules to safeguard domestic interests. In spite of the Commission's "flexibility in procedure and rigidity in principles" (Reynolds, 2011:1672) approach, member states now have a series of legal loopholes to speculate these circumstances to their advantage.

1. National Administrations and Policy Implementation

National administrations are crucial actors which determine the effectiveness of the implementation process (see Knill and Leskow, 1998; Riley, 2003; Wilks, 2005; Borzel, 2004; Sedelmeier, 2006; Nicolaides, 2006). Drawing on a model proposed by Knill (1998), who looks at their role in determining the successful implementation of environmental policy in the UK, this article investigates the capacity of CEECs' national administrations to cope with the EU requirements in the field of competition policy. It sets to identify the necessary conditions, in terms of national administrative capacity, for the effective implementation of competition legislation.

Implementation refers to the process of transposition, application and enforcement of EU legislation (Steunenberg, 2003:5), while effectiveness is defined as "the degree to which both the formal transposition and the practical application of supranational measures at the national level correspond to the objectives specified in the European legislation" (Knill, 1998:595). Literature identifies two main factors that affect the implementation process: effective administrative organization and clearly worded provisions at national level and the degree of fit or misfit between European rules and existing institutional and regulatory traditions (Treib, 2006). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.