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State aid and the European Economic Constitution

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With tough budget cuts in State universities and the bonkers rates charged by some academic publishers, university libraries are being margin squeezed.

At chillin’competition, we have thus decided to advertise competition law and economics books, provided we receive a free copy from the editor.

It is our pleasure today to advertise a new book entitled “‘State Aid and the European Economic Constitution” by Francesco de Cecco. The book is published by Hart Publishing. A full description + all relevant info can be found hereafter.

State Aid and the European Economic Constitution

By Francesco de Cecco

Recent years have seen the rise of EU State aid law as a crucial component of the European economic constitution. To date, however, the literature has neglected the contribution of this area of EU law to the internal market. This book seeks to fill this gap in our understanding of the economic constitution by exploring the significance of State aid law in addressing questions that go to the core of the internal market project. It does so by examining the case law relating to three different activities that Member States engage in: market participation, market regulation, and funding for Services of General Economic Interest. Each of these areas offers insights into fundamental questions surrounding the economic constitution, such as the separation between the State and the market, the scope for Member States to engage in regulatory competition, and the tension between market and nonmarket concerns.

Link to table of contents

The Author

Francesco de Cecco is a Lecturer in Law at Newcastle University.

December 2012   210pp   Hbk   9781849461054  RSP: £50 / US$100

20% DISCOUNT PRICE: £40 /  US$80

Order Online

If you would like to place an order you can do so through the Hart Publishing website (links below). To receive the discount please mention ref: ‘CCB’ in the special instructions field. Please note that the discount will not be shown on your order but will be applied when your order is processed.

UK, EU and ROW:


If you have any questions please contact Hart Publishing

Hart Publishing Ltd, 16C Worcester Place, Oxford, OX1 2JW, UK
Tel No: 01865 517530

Fax No: 01865 510710



Hart Publishing Ltd. is registered in England No. 3307205


Written by Nicolas Petit

23 January 2013 at 4:16 pm

Best book review ever

with 3 comments

As you know, Nicolas is one of the co-authors of a new book on EU Competition Law and Economics.

Oxford University Press has sent me a review copy. I was intending to write a serious review, but now I’ve watched a youtube-review of the book that is much better than anything I could ever write.

Those interested can watch it here: Youtube review of EU Competition Law and Economics

My favorite comments” “it is not too heavy”,  “it’s got a useful index at the back” and “it has lots of footnotes” . I also enjoyed the way the reviewer pronounces the authors’ names, including Nikos Petite and Demien Geraden (although, to be fair, in Damien’s case I think it must be a Youtube dialect; here’s a precedent). 😉 He does better with Anne Layne-Farrar’s name.

P.S. This reviewer has featured in previous post here at Chillin’Competition. In fact, he had two nominations to our Antitrust Oscars.

P.P.S. By the way, Val Korah has also written a review of this book in World Competition which Nico is described as an “eminent professor” and a “partner at a famous law firm” (?!).

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

3 October 2012 at 12:14 am

Posted in Book Reviews

Beach reads 2012

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In order to stand up to our reputation of “competition geeks”, and following our own advice on the usefulness of “reading, not just consulting, competition law books“, both Nicolas and myself included some “professional readings” within our beach-reading-material [I also took some non-competition readings with me (American Pastoral and Soldiers of Salamis) and they were simply excellent, and perhaps a bit more fun…].

I chose to read several network-effects related pieces (which are useful both for my halted PhD research and for my current work). Some of what I read was crap perhaps not so useful (what’s going on with peer reviews these days?), but other pieces were very good. I’ll share some views on them (assuming that you don’t give a damn about what we read, but in the hope that we can help anyone interested on these matters to “sepparate the wheat from the chaff)”.

For instance, I re-read Pierre Larouche’s article “The European Microsoft Case at the Crossroads of Competition Policy and Innovation” and -regardless of whether one agrees with everything that is in it or not- I thought that it is a model of what a serious, balanced, well-though and well-written comment of a Judgment should be like. I also re-read (or read seriously for the first time) a somehow more difficult (given its economic nature and its lenght) but brilliant piece by J. Farrell and P. Klemperer “Competition and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects“.  And I read for the first time a paper entitled “Monopolization via Voluntary Network Effects“, by Adi Ayal, that is both original and quite sensible.

Finally, I finished reading Competition Law and Regulation of Technology Markets, by Kevin Coates. In a previous post I said I would write a short review on it here, so here it goes. It may, however, come a bit late, since it’s most likely that you are already familiar with the existence of this work. Anyway….  Kevin Coates has produced a truly excellent book, and one that focuses on what is possibly the most timely subject in worldwide antitrust these days. The book deals with the application of  competition law, intellectual property law, telecoms regulation, and data protectition law “accross the different layers of the value chain, from the underlying technology, through the networks and into services and applications in light of the disciplines“.

The book does a great job in presenting the reader with the particular features of technology industries (e.g. its rapidly evolving and innovation-driven nature, the existence of network effects, the multiplicity and complexity of market relationships or the crucial role of technical compatibility), and, most notably, in addressing the particular challenges that these features pose to antitrust enforcement.

The book’s analysis is lucid, its scope is comprehensive, its language is fresh and lively; it expresses some personal views, but objectively presents all possible sides to every debate. In no other book will you find a comparable coverage of the breadth of technology-related issues covered in this one. In sum, it’s a book that I would’ve loved to write myself, and that I would’ve been proud to write in the way it is written.

P.S. We have asked Kevin to develop in a guest post in Chillin’Competition some of the ideas that we found more interesting. We’ll let him rest for a few days, but we hope to have him here soon.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

22 August 2012 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Book Reviews

Self promotion

with one comment

We like to self promote at chillin’competition.

For instance, you will have noticed from yesterday’s post that Alfonso likes to incidentally recall that he works on a pending case against a giant US corporation.

So I take my turn to self promote a little, with a recap on recent and forthcoming chillin’competition-related activities:

  • I was in Helsinki with my friend Miguel Rato (Shearman & Sterling). We were invited to deliver a presentation at the 11th Annual Conference of the Association of European Competition Law Judges (AECLJ). With 60 judges from accross Europe in the room (including judges from Luxemburg), Richard Whish, Alexander Italianer and Nick Banasevic on the podium, this was a very challenging talk. I attach the presentation here: Slides – Petit & Rato – Abuse in Technology-Enabled Markets – 11th AECLJ Conference (14 06 12. A paper on “Abuse in Technology-Enabled Markets” is in the making;
  • The registration process for the 2012/2013 edition of the LLM in Competition Law & Economics at the Brussels School of Competition is now opened. We have a new brochure in which you will find a number of changes. A teaser: F. Jenny will teach on abuse with JF. Bellis, Alfonso’s existence is now official and several ***** economists have joined;
  • We have a GCLC lunch talk this Friday, on the Commission’s review on the rules on technology transfer agreements. Our speakers are Donncadh Woods (DG Competition), Frédéric Louis (WilmerHale) and Paul Lugard (Tilburg Institute for Law and Economics (TILEC) and ICC Commission on Competition);
  • Ana Paula Martinez (Levy & Salomao) is the editor of a new, impressive volume entitled Temas Atuais de Direito da Concorrencia with written contributions (in English) from S. Salop, E. Elhauge, D. Geradin, Mariana Tavares de Araujo, Ian S. Forrester and Francisco Enrique González-Díaz. Here’s the leaflet and table of contents: GED_LS-#845180-v1-2012_Brazil_Competition_Book
  • I was in Strasbourg yesterday to lecture on IP and competition law at the CEIPI and I will be in Bruges tomorrow to give a presentation at the 8th ELEA symposium. It is a very busy week, like last week… and hopefully unlike next week.

Written by Nicolas Petit

19 June 2012 at 11:44 am

Reading Competition Law Books

with 4 comments

In our “Friday Slot” interviews we ask what competition law book deserves an Antitrust Oscar. A frequent reply from our interviewees is that they do not read competition law books but rather consult specific sections of such books when they are looking for something in particular.

We don’t necessarily agree with this view. Even though there are certainly some books that we only use for reference, we believe that some of the best books on antitrust are texts that you will not come accross if you’re just looking for references or for the answer to a very particular problem.

In our very own experience, reading certain competition law books written by people who clearly outsmart us has provided us good general overview of issues that we may not had/have yet seen in our professional life, and, most importantly, it has obliged us to reflect and think about what makes sense and what doesn’t in a discipline to which we devote an insane proportion of our life. Personally, we have learnt most of the theory we know from books and not from attending courses, seminars or conferences, no matter how good they were.

The obvious -and reasonable- response is “if, as you say, you already devote an insane amount of time to this, why on earth would you spend non-working time reading about the same subject?”. That’s partly true, but, the way we see it, it is one thing to spend your time working on a particular issue, and a very different one to take the time and distance (not to let the trees hide the woods) to reflect on the reasonableness of the overall discipline in which we are immersed.

We’re not saying that we do -nor, of course, that anyone else should- read competition law books instead of non-competition law books. No matter how good a competition law book is, non-competition law books teach you or open your mind to much more important stuff. We are just saying that -when we’ve had the time- we have found it useful to include some competition law books in our reading list.

A (certainly non-exhaustive) selection of some of the competition law books that make a most interesting read could feature Hovenkamp’s “The Antitrust Enterprise“; Areeda and Kaplow’s “Antitrust Analysis: Problems, Text, Cases“; Bork’s “The Antitrust Paradox“; Posner’s “Antitrust Law“; Amato’s “Antitrust and the Bounds of Power“; Luis Ortiz’s “Market Power in EU Antitrust Law“, Giorgio Monti’s “EC Competition Law” or Odudu’s “The Boundaries of EC Competition Law; The Scope of Article 81“. There are many other great books but we can’t name them all (suggestions in the form of comments will be welcome!).

The ones I’m currently in the (slow) process of reading (alternating from one to the other) are “Creation without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation” by C. Bohannan and H. Hovenkamp;  Kevin Coates’ “Competition Law and Regulation of Technology Markets” and Einer Elhauge’s (Ed), “Research Handbook on the Economics of Antitrust Law“. I´ll also be happy to read Nicolas’ most recent book ; sorry, wrong link; this is the right one!  😉 I intend to post a review of these books here once I´m done with them.

Regardless of all the above, my personal favourite antitrust book ever is one that I have only used for specific consultations and that I will most likely never read: the Treatise written by Areeda and Hovenkamp: “Antitrust Law: An Analysis of Antitrust Principles and their Application“. The reason why I know I won’t read it is that it looks like this:

Three additional comments:

– Herbert Hovenkamp -whose work is referenced above a few times- is clearly one of the 4 or 5 people from whom I’ve learnt more antitrust law, and the only one of these (aside from his co-author late Philip Areeda) whom I have never had the chance to meet in person (which again proves the importance of competition law books). We are very proud to anticipate that our next Friday Slot interview is with him!

– There is much to be said about the pricing of many of these books. But we’ll deal with that in a separate post.

– I recently recommended here a non-competition book -in Spanish, though- and a few (four) of you have sent emails saying that you loved it, which is nice to hear. Here is another suggestion, in English this time: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genious.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

2 May 2012 at 5:55 pm

You’re invited

with 2 comments

It’s very impolite to speak about parties to which only you have been invited. Yet, this is exactly what Nicolas did last Friday!

Nico talked about all these competition law-related social events that are taking place in Brussels this week, without realizing that many of us have not been invited (I guess this was not on the piece of Social Do’s and Don’ts that he suggested on his post…)  😉

To compensate for my co-blogger’s mistake, I will free-ride on my firm to invite you to some free drinks extend a personal invitation to all readers of Chillin’Competition for THE competition law social event of the month in Brussels: the launch of the book “Market Power in EU Antitrust Law” (we had intended to write a review here, but our objectivity is so compromised that we will ask someone else better placed than us to do it) next Tuesday.

I’m not kidding; you’re all welcome to share a drink with us. You only have to confirm your attendance to the email address that appears on the invitation.

Hope to see you there!

P.S. Nicolas will miss it because he will be lecturing in Russia, so here is another incentive to come.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

15 March 2012 at 7:44 pm

Linkedln: A new book, a new case, and an “innovative” ground for exploitation claims

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The new book: Lorenzo Pace is the editor of a forthcoming book on The Impact of the Commission Guidance Paper on Article 102 which features contributions by a bunch of truly outstanding academics, namely Pace himself, Valentine Korah, Ernst-Joachim Mestmäcker, Catherine Prieto, Richard Whish, and Luis Ortiz Blanco together with Pablo Ibañez Colomo.  I´ve  had the chance to read some of the contributions, and they are frankly excellent. Keep an eye open for its publication.

The new case: L. Ortiz and P. Ibañez´s contribution in that new book emphasizes that a significant difference exists between the enforcement of the almost identical provisions on abuse of dominance at the EU and Spanish levels. In particular, they show that, in remarkable contrast to the record of the European Commission, as much as half of the total number of prohibition decisions adopted by the Spanish authority were of a “regulatory nature”, in the sense that they concerned exploitative practices put in place by undertakings enjoying or having enjoyed exclusive rights or operating in regulated network industries.

An investigation formally initiated yesterday by the Spanish authority seems to prove their observations right, and not only retrospectively: Telefónica Móviles, Vodafone and Orange are being investigated for having allegedly set excessive prices for wholesale origination and termination services for short SMS and MMS messages on their mobile telephone networks.

As reported on this blog, Telefónica was also recently sanctioned for having abused the collective dominant position that it enjoyed together with Vodafone and Orange  in the retail mobile telephone market. I am wondering whether the CNC will be attempting to bring this new case on the basis of a finding  of collective dominance on the wholesale market (seems unlikely, but remember the Irish case where ComReg decared O2 and Vodafone collectively dominant in the whosale market; that decision recently commented and criticized in the August 2010 issue of European Competition Journal), or will rather act the “Magill way”,  holding that each operator is dominant with regards to its respective  network.  

An innovative ground for complaint:  As harsh as the CNC´s attitude in relation to claims of excessive pricing may seem, things can always be worse:

The Bolivian government has announced the initiation of a probe on the rise of 50 cents in the price of Coca Cola. The reason why the government is reacting as if the price of a 1st need product had skyrocketed and might even order CocaCola´s bottler to cease its activities is simple: last year the government launched its own drink with the aim of competing against Coca Cola. They named their product: Coca Colla. Subtle, isn´t it? .  

Despite its appealing brand name the government-sponsored drink wasn´t a success, so Evo Morales´administration is now following an alternative path; i.e. investigating  their direct competitor for having increased its prices (even if it only did so in response to the 23% increase in the price of sugar approved by the government..). Aside from the fact that forcing a producer to stop production seems an interesting remedy to excessive pricing (aka restricting output), this is a genuinely innovative ground  for competitors to take action. Who would have guessed it?  Bolivia at the avant-garde of antitrust..

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

19 January 2011 at 8:45 pm