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Historical institutionalism and the Competition Policy: the Regulation 17/62

Laurent Warlouzet

Paul Pierson's (1996) historical institutionalism states that institutional choices could lead to unanticipated consequences in the long term. This vision is especially relevant in the case of the first major step in the birth of an EU Competition Policy, the Regulation 17/62. This paper will show that the major actors who have negotiated this regulation had anticipated neither the short-term nor the long-term institutional consequences of the Regulation. In a first phase, the Commission was stalled by the institutional drawbacks of the agreement, which were not foreseen. However, in a second phase - twenty years later - this regulation was successfully used as a tool to strengthen dramatically the Competition Policy, until its reform in 2002 (Regulation 1/2003).

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