The European Union’s competition policy has been an important part of the EU’s work ever since it was set out in the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The treaty instituted ‘a system ensuring that competition in the common market is not distorted’. The aim was to create a set of well-developed and effective competition rules, to help ensure that the European market functions properly and provide consumers with the benefits of a free market system. Competition policy is about applying rules to make sure companies compete fairly with each other. This encourages enterprise and efficiency, creates a wider... choice for consumers and helps reduce prices and improve quality. These are the reasons why the EU fights anticompetitive behaviour, reviews mergers and state aid and encourages liberalisation. This publication is a part of a series that explains what the EU does in different policy areas, why the EU is involved and what the results are.