The European Commission has published a report on the first five years of the application of Council Regulation 1/2003. The Regulation put an end to the previous notification system, under which companies notified agreements to the Commission for approval under the anti-trust rules. This has eliminated unnecessary bureaucracy and has allowed the Commission to focus its resources on serious competition problems. The Regulation also created the European Network of Competition Authorities (ECN), within which the Commission and national competition authorities coordinate the application of EC Treaty anti-trust rules. The main conclusion of the report is that Council Regulation 1/2003 has contributed to stronger enforcement of anti-trust rules within the EU since it came into force on 1 May 2004. In addition, according to the report, it has proved to be a successful model of cooperation, with the Commission being informed about more than 300 decisions planned across the EU based on EC Treaty anti-trust rules. The report highlights a limited number of areas which merit further evaluation, such as the impact of divergences in national procedures and fining powers on the effective enforcement of the EC antitrust rules and the divergence of national laws in the area of unilateral conduct.
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