International cooperation - competition
Many EU Member States each have their own competition authority. These authorities practically do the same work as the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) does. These authorities look for the best ways to carry out their tasks. EU countries work closely together to make sure that businesses compete fairly with one another. They also work together with countries outside the EU.
Why do competition authorities cooperate?
Competition authorities help each other track down and prevent violations of antitrust laws, for example, when a case in a certain industry has been investigated in one country. Competition authorities in the other countries could then learn from that case, such as about the industry’s characteristics and what rules apply, but also about how businesses ignore those rules, and how regulators in other countries operate. They also work together if antitrust problems occur in multiple countries at the same time.
European regulators also cooperate to promote free enterprise in certain markets. For example, they make arrangements making it easier to export power from one country to another.
The European Commission (EC) has its own competition authority, too, which is the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp). For years, this organization was headed by Dutch commissioner Ms. Neelie Kroes. The DG Comp is now headed by Mr. Joaquín Almunia, the Spanish commissioner.
- The European Commission (general)
- The European Commission (information for consumers)
- Links to other competition authorities in Europe
European Competition Network
The EU Member States and the EC work together in the European Competition Network (ECN). They exchange with one another information on all industries. They also exchange information on cases that take place in multiple countries.
European Competition Authorities
The European Competition Authorities (ECA) is a collaboration between the competition authorities within the European Economic Area. It is an informal organization that aims at finding useful and effective solutions. The goal is to find the best methods with regard to policies and enforcement of oversight in Europe: the ‘best practices’. The ECA strives for increased cooperation between European competition authorities.
International Competition Network
The International Competition Network (ICN) is an organization of competition authorities worldwide. Within ICN, all competition authorities keep in touch with each other on a regular and informal basis. At meetings, they discuss practical issues regarding competition. ICN wishes to improve global cooperation between competition authorities. ICN additionally wishes to achieve more uniformity in laws, regulations, and policies.
ICN maintains close relations with other international organizations, such as:
- Associations and lawyers that work in competition law or competition economics
- Corporate interest groups
- Consumer or academic organizations
The ACM is an active member of ICN. Furthermore, Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, has been named vice-chairman of ICN.
The Netherlands is one of the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD has a competition division. ACM attends OECD meetings on competition on behalf of the Dutch government, which takes place in addition to and in consultation with other government organizations. ACM is an active member of the OECD.