European Union: The coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty and its impact on competition law

Last Updated: 7 December 2009
Article by Gillian Sproul

Originally published 02 December 2009

Keywords: Treaty of Lisbon, competition law, European Community, Maastricht Treaty, EC Treaty Provisions, TFEU, CJEU, CFI

On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the EC Treaty (the "Treaty of Lisbon") came into effect. The most significant changes relate to the reform of the European Union ("EU") institutions and legislative procedures, and the treaty will have a relatively minor impact on the application of competition law in Europe. Most of the substantive provisions of the EC Treaty remain unchanged, although there are some changes to:

  • terminology
  • the numbering of key provisions, and
  • the treaty articles dealing with state aid.

The reference to competition has also been removed from the list of the EU's objectives, although it is questionable whether this will have any real effect.


The Treaty of Lisbon amends, but does not replace:

  • The Treaty establishing the European Community (otherwise known as the EC Treaty or the Treaty of Rome); and
  • The Treaty on European Union (otherwise known as the Maastricht Treaty).

The EC Treaty is amended to provide the organisational and functional details, as well as most of the substantive provisions of EU primary law. Most of these substantive provisions remain unchanged. The Treaty on European Union is amended so that it essentially sets out the objectives and principles of the EU, and provides for a Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Changes in terminology

The EU has a single legal personality and replaces and succeeds the European Community. All references to "Community" and "European Community" are therefore replaced by the word "Union". The "EC Treaty" is now referred to as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (the "TFEU"). Finally, the European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") is now known as the Court of Justice of the European Union (the "CJEU") and the Court of First Instance (the "CFI") has been renamed the General Court.

Re-numbering of EC Treaty provisions

The numbering of the treaty articles in the TFEU has been amended. The key provisions are re-numbered as follows:

Old treaty

New treaty

Details of the provision(s)

Article 81

Article 101

Prohibits anti-competitive agreements

Article 82

Article 102

Prohibits abuse of dominance

Article 86

Article 106

Provides an exclusion from the above two provisions for undertakings engaged in services of general economic interest and for revenue-producing monopolies

Articles 87 and 88

Article 107 and 108 respectively

Prohibit national authorities from granting state aids that distort competition and trade in the EU

Article 226

Article 258

Allows for a challenge of a Member State's failure to fulfil a Treaty obligation

Article 230

Article 263

Allows for review of the legality of acts of the EU institutions

Article 232

Article 265

Allows for review of an EU institution's failure to act

Article 234

Article 267

Allows national courts to make a preliminary reference to the CJEU

Changes to state aid provisions

The numbering of the treaty articles in the TFEU has been amended. The key provisions are re-numbered as follows:

  • Article 107(2)(c) TFEU (previously Article 87(2)(c) EC) now allows for the repeal, five years after entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, of the provision that allows aid to be granted to the economy of certain areas of Germany affected by the division of Germany, insofar as such aid is required in order to compensate for the economic disadvantages caused by that division.
  • Article 107(3)(a) TFEU (previously Article 87(3)(a) EC), which allows aid to promote the economic development of areas where the standard of living is abnormally low or where there is serious underemployment, is broadened so as to allow aid to be granted to the regions referred to in Article 349, in view of their structural, economic and social situation. The regions referred to in Article 349 are Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
  • Article 108(4) TFEU allows the European Commission (the "Commission") to adopt regulations relating to the categories of state aid that the Council has determined may be exempted from notification.

Removal of the reference to competition from the list of the EU's objectives

Article 3(1)(g) EC Treaty, which listed one of the EU's objectives as the implementation of "a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted", has been repealed by the Treaty of Lisbon. Some commentators have expressed concern that this will undermine the Commission's ability to enforce competition law and that it will alter the European courts' interpretation of the relevant treaty provisions relating to competition law.

However, a new legally-binding Protocol on Internal Market Competition states that "the internal market as set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union includes a system ensuring that competition is not distorted." Furthermore, the European Council's Legal Service has issued an opinion stating that the removal of Article 3(1)(g) would not prevent the legislator from acting to ensure that competition in the internal market is not distorted. The real effect of this change may be limited therefore.

Mayer Brown has a wealth of experience representing clients in all types of competition law and regulatory proceedings.

Learn more about our Antitrust & Competition practice.

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services organization comprising legal practices that are separate entities ("Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP, a limited liability partnership established in the United States; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales; and JSM, a Hong Kong partnership, and its associated entities in Asia. The Mayer Brown Practices are known as Mayer Brown JSM in Asia.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

Copyright 2008. Mayer Brown LLP, Mayer Brown International LLP, and/or JSM. All rights reserved.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.