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Introduction to European Competition Law


Admission requirements

Evident basic knowledge of European law.


Over the past 50 years, EU competition law has developed into a substantial body of law, comprising directly applicable rules that are of immediate concern to business lawyers and management. This course offers an introductory overview of the basic rules, principles, and procedures EU competition law relies upon to structure businesses’ market behaviour. To that extent, it first outlines the goals of EU competition law and the legal concepts relied upon to attain those goals. By emphasizing the need for ‘workable competition’ within the ‘internal market’, EU competition law establishes a level playing field in accordance with which businesses and Member States have to structure their activities in the marketplace. EU competition law in that regard distinguishes between rules directly addressing private market operators and rules structuring state intervention in the marketplace. In both instances, the EU – and most notably the European Commission – has been endowed with significant enforcement and sanctioning powers. The course subsequently addresses the different specific competition law rules in more detail. It distinguishes between the prohibition of collusive behaviour, the prohibition of abuse of a dominant economic position, the ex ante regulation of envisaged mergers and acquisitions, and the regulation of State interventions in the marketplace.

Course objectives

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the basic rules, principles and procedures of EU competition law and to equip them with the necessary skills to evaluate to what extent particular market behaviour can be potentially captured by the EU competition rules.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a good understanding of the function of EU competition law;

  • explain the key concepts relied upon in EU competition law (such as undertaking, restriction of competition, abuse of a dominant position, relevant market);

  • identify the relevant substantive and procedural rules and apply them in simplified hypothetical and real-life case settings;

  • develop a well-structured competition law analysis;

  • independently find the most relevant case law and Commission decisions that help you develop a well-structured competition law analysis of a given problem.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 5

  • Names of lecturers: Mr. D. Mândrescu and/or guest lecturers

  • Required preparation by students: students are expected to be familiar with the prescribed materials.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5

  • Names of instructors: Dr. D. Mândrescu and/or guest instructor(s).

  • Required preparation by students: students should read the prescribed materials and are required to prepare the exercises.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • A written exam, counting for 100% towards the final grade.

Students failing the exam are entitled to sit a re-examination. Depending on the number of students failing the exam, the re-sit may take the form of an oral exam.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. 4.1.8 and further of the Course and Examination Regulations). Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course if they meet certain requirements. For more information, go to the website > ‘Law’ tab > ‘Retake a passed exam’.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials


  • Johan W. van de Gronden and Catalin S. Rusu, Competition Law in the EU: principle, substance, enforcement (1st Edition Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021)
    Course information guide:

  • see Brightspace.


  • see Brightspace.


Registration for courses and exams takes place via MyStudymap. If you do not have access to MyStudymap (guest students), look here (under the Law-tab) for more information on the registration procedure in your situation.

Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.



  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: European Law

  • Room number secretary: KOG, room B1.11

  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00

  • Telephone number secretary: 071-527 3596

  • Email: