Competition law and economic crisis. Which is the stronger?

There’s more to be done for the automobile industry than examining whether State aid is compatible with the rules of market competition". That is how the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, very recently sacrificed competition law on the altar of politics. Competition rules are less readily accepted than others perhaps because the harm they avert remains general and diffuse. Businesses invoke their financial difficulties in an attempt to escape competition rules being applied even when those difficulties are not related to a general or industry-wide state of crisis. But the competition authorities generally remain deaf to such calls, especially when they take the form of defensive cartels designed to avoid the harmful consequences of the anticompetitive behaviour of other businesses.