The role of the EU Competition Directorate General (DG IV) in implementing EU competition policy.
In this dissertation the opening up to competition of the ferry route between the
cities Elsinore in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden is analysed. The Danish
government was forced by a decision adopted by the Competition Directorate (DG
IV) in the European Commission to open up this ferry route for ferry operators other
than the state owned Danish operator, Danish Rail. Accordingly, the main case
analysed in this dissertation illustrates the relationship between the competition
authorities in the European Union (EU), empowered with supranational legislative
powers through article 90 in the Treaty, and the member states.
In the literature, DG IV, the service within the Commission mainly responsible for
competition policy, is often described as an autonomous body. The main aim of this
dissertation is to assess the autonomy of DG IV in its enforcement and
implementation of EU competition policy; and, as the presentation of the main case
above indicates, this question is discussed in the context of the introduction of EU
competition policy into the domain of public sector monopolies.
Two main broad approaches are adopted in analysing this area. First, a systems
approach is set out, in which the EU competition policy-making regime is analysed
by focusing on its development, legal foundation, and practical formulation in
general and in relation to public sector monopolies. The aim here is primarily to
reveal the nitty gritty of this regime, which till now has been only fragmentally
described in the literature, and to ease the modelling of the main case study
undertaken in this dissertation. The Elsinore case is then analysed by adopting three
well known perspectives for analysing EU decision-making: an interest group
approach; an interorganisational approach; and finally, an institutional approach.
The analysis's main observation is that an institutional approach to EU decisionmaking
seems to provide us with a more thorough understanding of the processes
focused on here than the two other approaches, and that this, at least, should lead us
to rephrase the notion of an autonomous DG IV in this area.