Competition Law and the European Financial Services Sector: An Overview of Recent Developments
Phoebus Athanassiou, Legal Counsel, European Central Bank, Germany
The European Commission has recently been channelling more resources to the enforcement of competition in the financial sector in an effort to combat the financial industry's continuing fragmentation. Contrary to the Commission, the European Court of Justice has taken an early interest in the application of antitrust rules to the activities of financial intermediaries.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the Commission's recent financial sector-related competition enforcement decisions and initiatives and to examine some of the hitherto jurisprudence of the Court in this area. By way of comparison, and with a view to drawing some insights on the likely outcome of a financial services-related challenge of the concurrent application of antitrust and sector-specific regulation, this article will also briefly examine the situation across the Atlantic where a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States has emphatically rejected the applicability of antitrust rules to the financial services sector.
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