EU competition policy has become so strongly institutionalized that it is easy to overlook its precarious status in earlier decades. This article argues, first, that the Commission responded to the imperative arising from the extraordinary powers created by the treaty and the novelty of competition policy in post-war Europe by developing a series of myths to provide justification for its prerogatives. Second, these myths have played a key role in securing acceptance of EU policy, though other factors have also been important. Third, the official mythology has been supplemented by an interpretation which has become dominant in the law and political science literatures; namely, that EU competition policy has ordoliberal origins. This article challenges this view.