Opportunism by Competition Authorities in Ireland, Portugal and Greece in the Wake of Economic Crisis
Dr Mary Catherine Lucey
UCD Sutherland School of Law
Please cite the paper as:
Dr Mary Catherine Lucey, (2017), Opportunism by Competition Authorities in Ireland, Portugal and Greece in the Wake of Economic Crisis, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 1 2017, Public Law and Economics, 1st June to 30th June, 2017
Greece, Ireland and Portugal experienced an economic crisis which resulted in bailout programmes negotiated by each Member State with the Troika. This paper offers some observations on how the Programmes sought to reform some aspects of the domestic competition law regime other than those which fell directly within the roots of the crisis (e.g. fiscal policy and the regulation and supervision of financial sector) but were in line with the general reform aspirations of the domestic competition authorities. After describing the programmes in general, this paper examines selected provisions which sought to reform the enforcement of EU (and domestic) competition law by aligning national provisions more closely with the EU model (for example civil fines and settlement mechanism). Next, it highlights how the MoUs sought to enhance the resources and independence of the authorities. Finally, it considers the attention paid to the liberal professions as an example of MoU conditions which were not really linked with the causes of the economic crisis. The title of this paper refers to the opportunism of the competition authorities in three Member States following an economic crisis. Here, however, the term is not intended to connote any moral judgment but to convey how when they found themselves regrettably holding lemons grasped the opportunity to make lemonade.