Special Report No 24/2020: The Commission’s EU merger control and antitrust proceedings: a need to scale up market oversight

In its antitrust proceedings, the Commission enforces the EU’s competition rules, together with the national competition authorities (NCAs). The Commission is also responsible for reviewing mergers of companies that are significant for the EU’s internal market.

In this audit, we examined how effectively the Commission detected and enforced infringements of EU competition rules regarding mergers and antitrust, and how it had cooperated with the NCAs. We also looked at how the Commission assessed its own performance and reported on it.

We found that the Commission’s decisions addressed competition concerns. But due to limited resources, capacities for monitoring of markets and own detection of antitrust cases were limited. Increasing amounts of data to be processed and the emergence of digital markets made investigations complex and not all challenges have been addressed yet. Cooperation with the NCAs was good, but certain aspects could benefit from better coordination. Also, the way the Commission assesses and reports on the performance of its activities needs improvement.

​We make recommendations aimed at helping the Commission to improve its capacity to detect and enforce infringements of competition rules, cooperate more closely with the NCAs, and improve performance reporting.

ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.

More information: SR Competition policy EN