European Union Competition Law

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Operation of Article 81(1) EC requires comprehensive economic analysis because of the fact that it hinders the agreements that affect economic freedom. Nevertheless, Article 81 EC permits anti-competitive practices whose pro-competitive results predominate over their anti-competitive consequences4.The national authorities can ban vertical agreements that disregard Article 81(3), in respect of the benefit of exemption.5 In the case of vertical agreements that are competitive and that include fifty percent or more of a specific market, the Commission has the power to cancel the exemption and apply Article 81(1) in its totality. In respect of cases of the undue advantage of a dominant position, Article 82 EC prohibits the abuse of a dominant position insofar as it may affect trade between Member States6 The agreements in the field of supply and distribution of goods comply with the new Block Exemption Regulation.7 Previously the EC had undertaken a formalistic approach that had construed any restriction of commercial freedom to be restrictive of competition. Further, the Commission had a monopoly in respect of implementing Article 81(3) and Article 81(1) had been given a wide interpretation, as it had to be enforced uniformly in all the Member States8.In Métropole Télévision (M6) et al. v. Commission9, the Court of First Instance or CFI held that an approach based on an economic perspective was essential while reviewing the agreements of anti-competition as stipulated by the provisions of Article 81(3) EC10.Article 81(1) EC differentiates between the different types of concerted agreements as agreements between undertakings where the notion of the agreement is broader in the sense which includes a contract11. decisions by associations of undertakings where the associations can be business associations or other organizations and concerted practices, which include varieties of cooperation, that are more inchoate than a conventional agreement12.