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The ECN Plus Directive:

Empowering National Competition Authorities to Be More Effective Enforcers of EU Competition Law


Francesco Rizzuto

Regulation 1/2003 left it to the Member States to determine the investigative and procedural powers of national competition authorities (NCAs). As a consequence, the enforcement of EU competition law in the Member States has not developed uniformly. Directive 2019/1 puts in place obligations on the Member States to harmonise the status and powers of NCAs in order to create a more uniform competition law single market regulatory space. In short, it aims to establish a level competition law enforcement field relating to investigative and fining powers, resources and independence, leniency, and rules governing mutual assistance between NCAs in the context of the operation of the European Competition Network. Many of the provisions are either closely aligned or indeed replicate the investigative and decision-making powers granted to the Commission under Regulation 1/2003 and the institutional resources and autonomy of national regulatory bodies established under EU sectoral legislation. This Directive in combination with the Private Damages Directive constitutes a significant push towards the federalisation of EU competition law enforcement in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Keywords: European Competition Network, ECN Plus Directive, National Competition Authorities

Francesco Rizzuto, Professor of European Union Law, Head of the Department of Law and Criminology, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom. For correspondence: <>.


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