Introduction to European Competition Law

Course description

This course is designed to provide an introductory overview of the main principles of European Competition Law and their application in today’s economy. It will mainly focus on EU competition law but also refer and compare to key competition law regimes in the world, particularly the United States. Students are invited to focus on the rationale behind the adoption of regimes based on ‘free’ competition and the interplay between competition law and economics. The course will cover vertical and horizontal agreements, abuses of market power, merger control policy and practice, interaction of competition law and regulation, providing an advanced analysis of these topics. 


I. Introduction: structure of the rules, role of economics, institutions and enforcement mechanisms
II. Basic legal concepts ("undertaking", "restriction of competition", "dominance", "abuse")
III. Basic economic concepts (competition and monopoly, market power, consumer welfare)
IV. The goals of competition law; competition models and economic efficiency; "non-economic" goals
V. Restrictive agreements (art. 101.1 TFUE, cartels, concerted practices, exchange of information amongst competitors)
VI. Art. 101.3 - Cooperation amongst competitors; vertical agreements (elements)
VII. Dominance (art. 102 TFUE, market definition, notion of dominant position)
VIII. Abuse of dominance (categories of exclusionary and exploitative abuses)
IX. Merger control (EU merger regulation, notion of concentration and control, procedural elements, substantive criteria)

Suggested readings
Van der Berg, Comparative Competition Law and Economics, Elgar, 2017, (the relevant chapters which will be indicated during the classes). 

Teaching methods
I will make use of slide presentations. I encourage students to be active during the class with questions and comments on the material presented.

Assessment methods
Active participation in class: 40% of the class grade.

Take-home final examination: 60% of the class grade. The final exam will take place in March 2021 and will include a open question based on the book chapters listed in the syllabus and covered in class. Your answers are expected to come from your own independent work, without accessing any online resources or written material, except lecture notes and the articles.


For any request Prof. De Pra is available at