On Thursday 19 November, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) will publish a special report on the European Commission’s EU merger control and antitrust proceedings.
ABOUT THE AUDIT
For the first time, the EU auditors examined how well the Commission had enforced EU competition rules in merger control and antitrust proceedings. They assessed its detection and investigation capacity, as well as coordination with national competition authorities (NCA). They visited the NCAs of Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands and Poland.
The report is expected to acknowledge the Commission’s good use of its enforcement powers, but call for improvements in its market oversight. The auditors are expected to make a number of recommendations, including on improving infringement detection, competition enforcement and coordination with NCAs.
ABOUT THE TOPIC
The Commission can prohibit anticompetitive agreements between companies and act against abuses of dominant position ("antitrust proceedings"), as well as reviewing larger concentrations of companies for their impact on competition ("merger control"). It can impose fines on companies that infringe EU competition rules.
In the last 10 years, competition enforcement has seen significant changes in market dynamics due to the emergence of digital markets, big data and price-fixing algorithms, and been at the centre of public interest and debate.
FOR THE PRESS
The ECA press office will hold a technical virtual briefing for journalists on Wednesday 18 November: contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. The report and press release will be published on the ECA website eca.europa.eu in 23 EU languages on the following day, Thursday 19 November, at 9:00 CET.
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes or management topics related to specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.