From 1 May 2004 the Member States' courts and the national competition authorities (NCAs) are entitled to apply not only Article 81(1) and Article 82 but Article 81(3) as well. For the purpose of efficient and consistent enforcement of the Community competition rules the European Commission and the NCAs apply Article 81 (restrictive agreements) and Article 82 (abuse of dominance) of EC Treaty within the framework of the close co-operation through the European Competition Network (ECN) , which was created by them.
On 16 December 2002, the day of the adoption of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty, the Council and the Commission issued a joint statement on the functioning of the ECN. The joint statement has a political nature, so it does not constitute rights nor establish obligations. Its object was to state the principles which served as a basis of the network and the political intentions which were announced concerning its functioning. The Commission laid down the details of co-operation in a notice . This notice was approved in a joint statement by the NCAs in the spring of 2004.