Competition Law and Regional Economic Integration is part of the World Bank Working Paper series. These papers are published to communicate the results of the Bank's ongoing research and to stimulate public discussion. Dealing with the interface between competition law and economic integration in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, this study seeks to map out key policy issues that should be addressed for successfully implementing or strengthening competition law regimes in Mediterranean Partner countries. This regional study is prepared by the joint World Bank - European Commission Programme on Private Participation in Mediterranean Infrastructure (PPMI). This study argues that adoption and strengthening of a competition law regime is a key component of the regulatory reforms required to allow a market economy in the Mediterranean region. It also argues that the competition rules inserted in the Association Agreements signed between the European Union and the Mediterranean Partners currently fail to provide adequate protection against anticompetitive practices affecting trade between these blocks.
Moreover, the competition law regimes adopted by the Partners are generally poorly enforced with the consequence that many domestic anticompetitive practices remain unchallenged. In addition, this study also addresses the issue of regulatory convergence between the European Union and the Partners in the field of competition law, arguing that while such convergence would bring a series of benefits to both the European Union and the Partners, it would also involve costs. In its final part, this study proposes a series of steps that could be taken by the European Union and the Partners to strengthen competition policy in the Mediterranean region, including proposals for technical assistance in the field of competition law.