Three dimensional EU Competition Law

The dynamic of European Union (EU) competition law usually plays out in two-dimensions: the ability of its technical framework to capture and deal with economic reality and the intensity of judicial review of its enforcement. The consensual view has been that new technology markets characterised by strong network effects required no substantive adjustment of competition rules. This is no longer the case regarding digital platforms which have so far managed to ward off challengers and expand into multiple domains. Novel economic approaches are put forward and, from the first time since the ‘modernisation’ of competition law, substantive changes are explored. At the same time, there is a call to explicitly integrate societal concerns in its enforcement. Therefore, either this third dimension of competition law is (again) emphasised and reflected in substantive changes and judicial control, or competition law itself risks being overrun and limited to a much narrower scope of action.