The Legal Effects of EU Competition Soft Law in the Decisions of National Competition Authorities: The Case of the Bundeskartellamt.

Leander Stähler, Mariolina Eliantonio

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Soft law issued by the European Commission plays an important role in the area of EU competition law. Focusing on the legal effect of competition soft law as applied by Germany's national competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, this contribution analyses how the authority pursues interpretational and decisional objectives through references to competition soft law. This contribution quantifies the references made to soft law and categorises these references on the basis of the involvement of other sources of law in an individual reference. It is shown that the Bundeskartellamt is comfortable making reference to competition soft law as the sole legal basis for certain parts of many decisions, ascribing to competition soft law a strong legal effect in several instances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Competition and Regulatory Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Antitrust law
  • Soft law
  • European law
  • Germany
  • European Commission
  • Bundeskartellamt
  • enforcement
  • EU Commission
  • EU soft law
  • NCAs

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