What would a British exit mean for EU competition policy?

September 09, 2013

The debate over Britain’s future in the EU has to date failed to highlight the threat posed to EUcompetition policy and enforcement, which both play a critical role in underpinning the singlemarket. Yet a British exit from the EU could have important repercussions for competition policy.

Several dangers present themselves. The first is the riskthat the ground-rules for EU competition policy couldbe weakened in any future treaty renegotiation withoutthe British at the table. Secondly, even absent such anexplicit renegotiation, removing Britain’s input into policyand enforcement might encourage some drift in the way existing rules are applied. Thirdly, and regardless of the possibility of renegotiation or drift, there would be heavyadditional costs for both government and for business. Lastly, a British exit could harm the global dialogue between competition authorities.

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