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European Competition Network (ECN)

The national competition authorities and the European Commission form a network of authorities, which act in the public interest and cooperate closely to protect competition. This network is known as the “European Competition Network”, (ECN).

With Regulation (EC) no. 1/2003 a system of parallel competences was created within which the European Commission and the competition authorities of the Member States apply the competition rules laid down in the EC Treaty (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU). Together the national competition authorities and the European Commission form a network of authorities, which act in the public interest and cooperate closely to protect competition. This network is known as the “European Competition Network”, (ECN).

The ECN is a discussion and cooperation forum for applying and enforcing EU competition policy. It provides a framework for cooperation between the European competition authorities in cases in which Articles 101 and/or102 TFEU are applied and a basis for creating and fostering a common competition culture in Europe.

The cooperation takes the following form:

• exchange of information about cases and decisions taken by the member competition authorities,
• mutual assistance with investigations,
• exchange of evidence or other information.

Fora within the ECN

The leading forum of the ECN is the Meeting of Directors General, this meeting defines the work programme for the entire Network.Key fora of the ECN are the Plenary, as well as the Working Group dealing with overall problems, wich are ”Cooperation Issues and Due Process” and “Cartels”. Besides those working groups, national experts and experts from the European Commission are also discussing specific legal and policy problems in sectoral subgroups.(such as “energy”, “pharmaceuticals”, “banking and insurance", “sports and media”).

ECN and Bundeskartellamt

In May 2004 a coordination unit was set up in the Bundeskartellamt to represent the authority in the network of the European competition authorities. This ECN Coordination Unit is attached to the policy unit G1, German and European Antitrust Law, Public Procurement.