Workshop: NCAs’ Institutional Design and Enforcement Strategies: Similarities and Differences


The institutional set-up of a National Competition Authority (NCA) has important consequences on its enforcement outcome; equally the structure, resources and degree of independence of each authority have important consequences on the results achieved by the authority itself. In Europe, Regulation n. 1/2003 decentralized the enforcement of EU competition rules, but it was left to the individual EU Member States’ discretion to design the institutional set-up of their NCA. In particular, while some EU Member States opted for an administrative model, which mirrors the powers and structure of the European Commission, other EU Member States (e.g. UK, Austria, Sweden and Finland) have split prosecution and the adjudication functions between different institutions (i.e. two tier systems). Furthermore, NCAs apply the same substantive EU competition rules on the basis of different procedural rules.

In the past decade, the NCAs have become the major enforcers of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, adopting a large number of infringement decisions in comparison to the European Commission. However, the degree of enforcement of EU competition rules substantially varies among different jurisdictions, due to the different institutional design of the NCAs. The European  Commission has recently expressed the view that further harmonization of the institutional design of the NCAs would be welcomed, and to this end, has opened a public consultation to collect the stakeholders’ views on this issue. Considering the relevance and timing of the topic, the workshop aims at gathering representatives of NCAs, companies, academics, practitioners to discuss whether and to what extent the institutional design of NCAs should be further harmonized in order to ensure a consistent enforcement of EU competition rules throughout the European Union.