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Tilburg Law and Economics Center

TILEC supports and stimulates academic research on the governance of economic activity. It fosters academically path breaking and practically relevant research and aims to be a leading center worldwide.

TILEC Work in Progress: Jasper Sluijs

Commercial Subsidiaries of Public Entities and the Limits of EU Competition Law
10:45-12:00, M 1002

Dr. Jasper Sluijs is assistant professor within the chair group of Public International Law at Utrecht University School of Law.

His expertise includes competition law and regulation of public interest markets, such as health care, telecoms, media en tech. He is also interested in experimental legal research and teaching methods in legal education. Besides his research and teaching, dr. Sluijs is co-director of the "European Governace" Graduate program. 

Before returning to academia in 2018, dr. Sluijs worked in private practice for five years, advising clients in matters of general EU law, sector-specific regulation and compliance in numerous markets. 

Dr. Sluijs obtained his PhD with first class honors at Tilburg Law School, and previously was a Fulbright scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania.

Commercial  Subsidiaries of Public Entities and the Limits of EU Competition Law

Competitive behavior of public entities is generally approached in the literature as concerning the traditional State-owned enterprises. However, increasingly we see examples of commercial subsidiaries of public entities—think of a forestry service selling timber to construction firms. Because these subsidiaries enjoy various competitive advantages over their private competitors, their behavior may distort competition and entry on markets. A survey of Member States demonstrates that commercial subsidiaries of public entities are prevalent throughout the EU.

Anticompetitive behavior of these commercial subsidiaries would likely fall under the abuse of dominance regime of EU competition law. While abuse of dominance could be established on a substantive level, competition authorities face numerous procedural challenges when enforcing against commercial subsidiaries of public entities. Moreover, the internal market is hampered by the various competition law-related regimes in Member States concerning commercial subsidiaries.

This paper offers remedies for some of the challenges that are posed by anticompetitive behavior by commercial subsidiaries of public entities. European harmonization of the application of competition law vis-à-vis public entities would lower entry barriers to firms. Moreover, strengthening the independence of competition authorities could mitigate procedural constraints. Finally, this paper argues that regulation of competitive conduct by public entities may be warranted on an EU level. Before resorting to harmonization or regulation beyond competition law, however, more research is necessary to appreciate and quantify the various possible distortion of competition by commercial subsidiaries of public entities.


When: 19 September 2018 10:45

End date: 19 September 2018 12:00