Rule of Law and EU Competition Law

On 9 Feb 22, the CJ examined for the first time (case T-791/19) the impact of systemic deficiencies in the rule of law on national competition authorities. It not only discussed the ability of national competition authorities to effectively enforce competition law (as there are concerns about the lack of independence of national authorities), but also questioned the Commission's margin of discretion to accept or reject complaints. The ECJ invoked the caselaw adopted in the context of the EAW, and required that the Commission, before rejecting a complaint about lack of an EU interest, ensures that national authorities are in a position adequately to safeguard the complainant’s rights. Competition law is thus considered a pillar of EU law, which has been undermined by national laws that attack values referred to in art. 2 TEU. The traditional policy of the Commission, trusting automatically all the national authorities, may have to change.