The European Antitrust Review 2009

Major Changes in French Competition Law

On 4 August 2008, the Loi de Modernisation de l'Economie (LME),1 Law No. 2008-776, was enacted. The LME amends numerous provisions related to competition law under Book 4 of the Code de Commerce (Code of Commercial Law). The LME has two general objectives with regard to French Competition Law. The first is to transform the French Competition Council into a new Authority by transferring some of the former powers of the minister of economy to this authority. This reform marks the end of the former dual system. Its second objective is to catch up with the standards of the other member states of the European Union. The LME also modifies merger control proceedings and antitrust regulations. Before the end of 2008, a government order will finalize the LME's provisions.2 Article 97 of the LME provides that the government is authorised to pass an order to confer all requisite jurisdictions on the Competition Authority relating to antitrust practices, the rules of functioning and proceedings and the methods of investigation. This order will also amend the Code of Commercial Law concerning the right to defence and the power of the competition authorities regarding seizures and inquiries.

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