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QLLM318 Competition and the State: Regulation of public services in the EU (Sem 2)

Module Description

This course will examine the constraints placed upon Member States by EU competition rules. This is a contentious issue as EU law may interfere with domestic economic policies (e.g. social policy, taxation etc).

The course first discusses distinction between economic and non-economic activity, the notion of ‘undertaking’ and the principle of sincere cooperation (Art 4(3) TEU) that requires Member States to refrain from taking measures that run counter to Union objectives. It will then discuss issues pertaining to public undertakings and undertakings entrusted with special or exclusive rights (106 (1) TFEU). It will also examine the leeway afforded to Member States when regulating services of general economic interest (SGEI) (106 (2) TFEU).


1. Introduction: competition law and its relevance for state action
2. ‘Economic activity’: the definition of undertaking
3. Duty of sincere cooperation and competition law
4. Exclusive and special rights: Article 106 (1) TFEU
5. SGEI: Article 106 (2) TFEU (I)
6. SGEI: Article 106 (2) TFEU (II)
7. SGEI and State Aid
8. Enforcement
9. Case Study [Environmental Protection and 106 (2)]
10. Case Study
11. Revision

Module Aims

The aim of the module is to enable students to develop an understanding of the legal, commercial and economic issues that arise in the application of competition rules to various state actions. We will consider and critically examine the way by which the European institutions have applied the relevant rules in order to promote competition in the EU internal market. The aim is to appreciate the complex interplay between national and EU competences and the leeway afforded to EU institutions to regulate the internal market. No previous knowledge of  EU law and EU competition law is required, though students are advised to combine this course with LLM EU Competition Law. This course is complementary to the course 'Competition and the State: EU state aid law'. Students are advised to take both courses, however these courses are autonomous and can be followed individually.

Applicable Groupings

  • LLM in Competition Law
  • LLM in European Law
  • Laws (General)
  • LLM Flexible Study.

Mode of Assessment

5,000 word course essay


22.5 Credits

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