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Introduction According to the UK mergers Assessment Guidelines, competition would mean a process that stimulates rivalry efforts by supplier towards satisfying consumers in order to win their business over time.[1] That competition law has consumers well-being as its primary objective is emphasised by European Commissioner for competition policy, Neelie Keroes, that protection of competition aims, among other things, to enhancing consumer welfare.[2] 2. The single market and competition imperatives Single market focuses on creation of economic integration within the community who submitted or ascended to the European Union. The aim is to be removing internal barriers towards creation of internal market that will facilitate free movement of goods, services, workers, and capital. It facilitates cross boarder business and prohibits any action of a Member State that could prohibits those objectives. Within the context of free movement of goods, protecting consumers and balancing their interest with that of the manufacturers is paramount.[3] It is therefore no doubt that competition law becomes imperative to the EU Single market, preventing potential cartel within nation and ensuring growth of cross-borders transactions;[4] thereby characterising elements of competition, thus, according to the McGowan and Wilks, competition policy is a foundation stone of the European Union.[5] It will be an imperative act to formulate such policies that will discourage business activities that could mitigate or weakened the objective covering the three principle sources of collusion, mergers and predation.[6] 3. Focus on competition As the frontline of market integration, the EU has enacted both primary and secondary law and rules that prohibits any acts that could inhibits free movement of goods and such business practices or national law that would differentiate trade practices and/or inhibits free trading business activities within the community, including agreement on vertical and horizontal integration. 4. The Law Title VII chapter 1 TFEU speaks to the conduct of competition within the community, it prohibits any agreement or coalition that restrict or distort competition within the Union, either through price fixing, supply restriction or control, or other that could threaten competition.[7] Abuse that should be a corollary of an enterprise occupying a dominant position is prohibited, be at an advantage to impose prices, usage of technicality or such endeavour or engagement that could be prejudice to consumers.[8] Envisaging the imperatives of competition in a potentially challenging single market, Article 103 empowered to regulate competition through secondary legislation.[9] 5. The Regulation Council Regulation (EC) No1/2003 This Council Regulation emphatically imposed the supremacy of the community lay over the national law. In its introduction, it illuminates possible conflict between the both laws, subjecting national law to differ any hitherto prohibitive agreements if such agreements are not also prohibited under national law, although, it allows sticker measure on unilateral conduct.[10] Thus the regulation upholds the prohibitions under Article 81(1) of the Treaty as long as they do not satisfy Article 83 of the Treaty. For effective enforcement, Member States are to give relevant authorities and ensure that these primary Articles (81) and (82) of the Treaty (101 and 102 TFEU) are duly applied,[11] and as provided by relevant Directive.[12] It however enjoins consistency in application competition rules and needs for the national to stay proceedings when there is a similar case before the Court of Justice.[13][i] 6. Exemptions The importance of the application of competition of Article (81) of the Treaty (as it was then) has ever been strictly enforced except when the practice or agreement is in the public interest[14] or beneficial to the consumers. Thus, in GlaxoSmithKline Services Unlimited v Commission of the European Communities, it was held that exemption could be granted if an agreement had to contribute to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress. It would become necessary to look at the objectives it sought to attain and the economic and legal context of which it formed a part, with the burden of proof on the one who relies on the exemption. [15] 7. Conclusion The European Union has thrown its weight to actualise effective Single Market and particularly through positive harmonization, which is acclaimed to be less effective to bring about desirable competition in this context, thereby applauding the regulatory regime of competition control. Yet, it is still of view of some scholars that the regulatory policy only wold be insufficient, it should be intertwined with the positive approach of harmonization.[16] [1] Cited in Richard Whish and David Bailey Competition Law Oxford University Press page 4 [2] Ibid page 19 [3] Paul Craig, Grinne Brca, EU Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (6th edition, Oxford University Press) 2015 page 627 [4] n 1 page 24 [5] Lee McGowan and Stephen Wilks The first supranational policy in the European Union: Competition policy European Journal of Political Research (1995) 28: 141-169. Available online: https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1475-6765.1995.tb00808.x [6] Ibid page 141 [7] Article 101 TFEU [8] Article 102 [9] Title VII, section 1, chapter 1 TFEU [10] Paragraph 9 recital Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (2002) [11] ibid recital 35 [12] n 1 page 60 [13] n 10 recital 17 [14] ibid recital 14 [15] [2010] 4 C.M.L.R. 2 [16] Jeanne-Mey Sun and Jacques Pelkmans Regulatory Competition in the Single Market Journal of Common Market Studies Volume 33, No. 1 March 1995 https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.liverpool.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1468-5965.1995.tb00517.x
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