The original intent behind industrial policy in the EC was to avoid any threats to integration through cartelization or lack of competition within the Community. This would easily occur, even if trade was nominally free due to the relaxation of tariff barriers, if markets were artificially divided up through cartelization, or if prices were to differ due to price discrimination policies by monopolies or near-monopolies. In addition, the barriers to entry characteristic of monopoly or oligopoly could divert resources away from their most efficient use.
The Treaty of Rome addressed these issues in Articles 85 and 86 (see Appendix). Article 85 declared that various collusive practices were to be null and void, and henceforth not enforceable in the courts. This last point may strike those familiar with U.S. antitrust law and history as somewhat curious, but it is a fact that Europe has generally not only not shared such a history, but that practices that would call for heavy fines and even jail sentences in the United States are enforceable by the law of contracts in Europe. Article 86 added industrial concentration as an area of concern by prohibiting, if not the dominant position of firms, then at least the abuse of that dominant position.
In the cases of both industrial collusion and concentration, however, there is something of a dichotomy in Community intent, which shows up in policy itself and in the powers of the Commission to enforce policy.
Regarding collusion, for example, it is felt that such structures can actually be efficient if they enhance distribution or purchasing