So far, the notion of food sovereignty has not claimed a place at the table of competition law. Although competition law developments in the last four decades have promoted the exclusive dominance of efficiency considerations, the next few years may bring a turning point through the recognition that in the long term economic efficiency also requires social and environmental sustainability, especially in a sector like agriculture. Although family farming has always been dominant in Europe, recent trends of concentration and consolidation in the agricultural and food supply chain as well as globalisation itself have shaken European agricultural producers who face several competition-related problems. This article aims to shed light on whether the theoretical framework of EU competition law and policy are appropriate for the notion of food sovereignty to join the discourse. In order to do so, the article presents the main tenets of ordoliberalism, the prevailing school of thought in EU competition policy, in particular the findings of those ordoliberal scholars who deal with the issues of agriculture. Moreover, the article aims to theorise sovereignty in food sovereignty, in parallel with bringing it into line with ordoliberalism, in order to explore whether the concept of social market economy, one of the key concepts of ordoliberalism explicitly followed by the EU, and in particular ordoliberal competition policy to be realised within the framework of the social market economy, is suitable to take into account food sovereignty’s core elements at least at a theoretical level. If it is, it may bring to the fore a viewpoint of EU competition policy which ensures appropriate protection for the agricultural sector to overcome the newly emerging anomalies faced by European agricultural producers as a consequence of globalising markets.
Keywords: food sovereignty, competition law, competition policy, ordoliberalism, agriculture, United States of America, European Union.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution − Non-Commercial − No Derivatives 4.0 International License.
Suggested citation: MM Csirszki, ‘Is There Room for Food Sovereignty Considerations in EU Competition Policy? A Theoretical Framework’ (2022) 18 CYELP (‘Online First’).