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28 J. Consumer Pol'y 1 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy28 and id is 1 raw text is: Jules Stuyck

EC Competition Law After
Modernisation: More Than Ever in the
Interest of Consumers
ABSTRACT. In this paper it is argued that even though the consumer cannot (any-
more) be reduced to a homo oeconomicus, competition law is the cornerstone of
consumer law and that the decentralised application of EC competition law since 1 May
2004 (pursuant to Regulation 1/2003) gives new opportunities for an effective applica-
tion of the EC competition rules to the benefit of consumers. While the EC Treaty (and
the future Constitution for Europe) aim to protect consumers in the framework of the
internal market programme, as well as on the basis of a genuine consumer protection
policy, it is submitted that an effective competition policy remains crucial for consumers
in a market economy. Consumer interests are generally diffuse and therefore difficult to
protect via legal procedures. Nevertheless a further development of remedies which are
already available in Community law (nullity of restrictive agreements, claims for dam-
ages, actions for a cease and desist order, and so on) will contribute to an increased
application of the competition rules in the interest of consumers.
Competition policy is one of the common policies of the EC. The
common market supposes the absence of both state obstacles and
private barriers to the exercise of cross-border activities within the
Community. In addition, the Treaty fathers obviously chose a system
of undistorted competition (Article 3(g)) because they believed that
this would contribute to a constant and balanced development of
economic activities and the improvement of the standard of living in
the Community (see the objectives of the Treaty, as expressed in the
original Article 2). Much later the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) added
that the activities of the Member States and of the Community shall
include the adoption of an economic policy which is conducted in
accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free
competition. The same Treaty made consumer policy one of the (less
central) flanking policies.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is now incorporated in
the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe (approved at the
summit of 18 June 2004, still to be formally signed and ratified by the

Journal of Consumer Policy (2005) 28: 1-30

© Springer 2005

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