Are We Compatible?: Current European Community Law on the Compatibility of Joint Ventures with the Common Market and Possibilities for Future Development

The Commission and commentators note that the potential for reform in the procedural arena is quite great. The current literature discusses the difficulties would-be venturers have in determining if their proposed venture is concentrative or cooperative and the procedural differences between notifications under the two standards.

This Note argues, however, that the substantive differences between the two standards are even more problematic than the procedural ones. Reducing the substantive differences between the two compatibility standards, short of creating a single standard that is unresponsive to the tensions between concentrative and cooperative situations, will have a beneficial impact. Similar standards of compatibility, coupled with procedural efficiency, will mollify venturers’ concerns about the unpredictability of the Commission’s inquiry and encourage them to establish procompetitive joint ventures. Moreover, appropriate standards and adequate safeguards will ensure that the Commission does not unduly sacrifice its enforcement powers in the name of certainty.