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Business Articles Awards > Cross-border Issues

European Union: Financial Services

Vincent Brophy and Tom Bainbridge, Global Competition Review, 2017

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In recent years, the financial services sector has been subject to increased antitrust scrutiny in the EU. Perhaps surprisingly, this is very new. Indeed, EU competition enforcement in the financial services sector had previously focused mainly on the areas of state aid and merger control – and not much else. In state aid, the European Commission (the Commission) has long used its powers in the financial services sector just like in any other. There was, naturally, a surge in cases between 2007 and 2015 generated by the financial crisis. The restructuring or liquidation of around 117 European banks during this period required policing and procedural innovation by the Commission,2 but the substance was not new.

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