December 04, 2013
In Europe, All Regulation Is Antitrust Regulation
Posted by David Zaring

The multibillion dollar fine imposed by the EU for rigging the LIBOR and other rates was doled out not because the rate rigging was deemed a form of market fraud, but because it was collusive, anti-competitive conduct.  Indeed, the EU doesn't have a regulator who can police that kind of fraud.  Instead it has antitrust, the seminal European worry, and a font of regulation that has quite literally been used to further the European project (dethroning national champions, removing internal trade barriers, defending important European companies, like Airbus, against foreign competitors, you name it).  So it's a good thing for Europe that this could be fit within the antitrust rubric.

It gives some lie to the idea that Europe hopes to become the world's regulatory superpower though (see this talk by Moravcsik, or this for an overview of that school of thought).  Clearly the continents super powers are not distributed evenly.

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