Foreword

Author:Emmanuel Forestier; Christian Leffler
Profession:The World Bank; European Commission
 
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This is the third regional study prepared by the joint World Bank-European Commission Programme on Private Participation in Mediterranean Infrastructure (PPMI). The study deals with the interface between competition law and economic integration in the context of the Euro- Mediterranean partnership. The study seeks to map out key policy issues that should be addressed for successfully implementing or strengthening competition law regimes in the Partner Countries.

The key finding of this study is that adoption and strengthening of a competition law regime is a key component of the regulatory reforms, which are required to allow a market economy in the region. The study stresses that the implementation of successful competition law regimes involves complex challenges, which cannot be addressed without a substantial involvement of the European Union (EU) and the Mediterranean Partners (MPs). The study argues that the competition rules inserted in the Association Agreements signed between the EU and the MPs do not currently provide adequate protection against anticompetitive practices affecting trade between these blocks. Moreover, the competition law regimes adopted by the MPs are generally poorly enforced with the consequences that many domestic anticompetitive practices remain unchallenged. Efforts will have to be made both at the bilateral and domestic level to provide for competition regimes that will effectively prevent anticompetitive conduct from occurring.

This study also addresses the issue of regulatory convergence between the EU and the MPs in the competition law field, that is, whether the MPs should align their competition rules with European competition rules. It argues that while such convergence would bring a series of benefits to both the EU and the MPs, it would also involve costs. The study argues in favor of...

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