Public bodies as 'undertakings' under EU and UK competition law
Produced in partnership with Suzanne Rab of Serle Court
Public bodies as 'undertakings' under EU and UK competition law

The following Competition guidance note Produced in partnership with Suzanne Rab of Serle Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public bodies as 'undertakings' under EU and UK competition law
  • Public body as an undertaking under EU competition law
  • Legal status of public bodies under UK competition law
  • Consequences of a public body being treated as an undertaking for the purposes of competition law

The interaction between state involvement in the market, competition and EU law needs to be considered from a number of often interrelated dimensions. The competition law provisions contained in Articles 101 and 102 TFEU apply to 'undertakings'. It is clear that this concept can apply to a public body provided that it is engaged in economic or commercial activities.

The tension between state intervention in the market and competition law is likely to be of increasing importance at EU and national level.

First, the markets for public services continue to be opened up to competition. The aim of competition in the delivery of services which have traditionally been provided by the state is to encourage greater productivity and benefit consumers and the tax payer.

Second, public bodies are increasingly seeking to generate revenues through the use of their assets or excess capacity in markets outside their core public service functions. This phenomenon was put into sharp focus by the financial crisis and is expected to be of continuing relevance during recovery.

Third, the relationship between competition law and state intervention is not uniform across the Member States. The notion of monolithic state regulation across the EU is increasingly divorced from the variety of public and private regimes for the provision of services once thought to be the preserve of the state. For example, certain sectors