Sector inquires

ESA may carry out investigations into particular sectors of the economy or into particular types of agreements across various sectors.

ESA may decide to carry out a sector inquiry when a market does not appear to be working as well as it should be. That might be indicated by evidence such as:

  • limited trade between Member States;
  • lack of new entrants on the market;
  • rigidity of prices; or
  • other circumstances suggesting that competition may be restricted or distorted within the territory covered by the EEA Agreement.

A sector inquiry is essentially an information-gathering exercise that enables ESA to gain in-depth knowledge about particular markets. Such knowledge may, in turn, form the basis for subsequent enforcement action under Articles 53 or 54 EEA. ESA may, in the course of its inquiry, request undertakings concerned to supply information. ESA may also carry out inspections of business premises.

ESA will normally publish a non-confidential report on the results of a sector inquiry and invite comments from interested parties. A public hearing may also be held.

Sector inquiries are usually conducted in parallel to similar inquiries by the Commission. By conducting parallel inquiries into the same sector, the two authorities seek to gain an EEA-wide comparative overview of competitive conditions in the relevant areas.

Sectors that have been the subject of an inquiry:

  • Financial Services
  • Energy
  • New media – sport content for 3G mobile phones
  • Telecommunications

An overview of sector inquiries which ESA has carried out or been involved in can be found in the ESA's annual reports.

Other EEA Institutions

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