Short Reads

European Commission proposes a new Directive to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers of EU competition law rules

European Commission proposes a new Directive to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers of EU competition law rules

European Commission proposes a new Directive to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers of EU competition law rules

04.04.2017

On 22 March 2017, the European Commission published a proposal for a new Directive that aims to provide national competition authorities ("NCAs") with minimum instruments to detect EU competition law infringements and impose effective sanctions.

Decentralized application of EU competition law by the NCAs has become a vital pillar of enforcement since Regulation 1/2003 entered into force in May 2004. The proposed Directive follows the public consultation on empowering NCAs to be more effective enforcers of the EU competition law rules, which the Commission launched in 2015, and particularly addresses the following aspects of enforcement:

  • Independency and resources. The proposed Directive seeks to ensure that NCAs have the necessary human, financial and technical resources at their disposal and enforce EU competition law impartially and independently from political and other external influences;
  • Investigative powers. The proposal provides NCAs with the minimum effective investigative powers, most notably the power to conduct all necessary dawn raids and the power to gather evidence in either physical or digital form;
  • Decision-making powers. NCAs need to be able to adopt prohibition decisions, including the power to impose structural and behavioural remedies, commitment decisions and interim measures;
  • Fines. To ensure the effective and uniform enforcement of EU competition law, NCAs should have the power to impose effective, proportionate and deterrent fines on companies that infringe EU competition law rules. Importantly, the proposed Directive sets out that the notion of undertaking is applied in this context, meaning that parent companies and legal and economic successors of infringing undertakings cannot escape the payment of fines;
  • Leniency. The proposed Directive transposes the main principles of the European leniency programme into law. By reducing the current differences between Member States, the proposed Directive aims to increase legal certainty and thus to maintain incentives for companies to apply for leniency; and
  • Mutual assistance. The proposal ensures that NCAs can request and provide mutual assistance for the carrying out of investigative measures, the notification of decisions and the enforcement of fines.

The proposed Directive complements the system of decentralised enforcement put in place by Regulation 1/2003 and further harmonizes the procedural powers and operations of NCAs. The Directive has been forwarded to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. Once adopted, Member States will have to transpose the provisions of the Directive into national law. It will depend on the Member State whether the Directive will entail extensive changes as many of them already have systems in place that are in line with the provisions of the Directive.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of April 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. Court of Justice confirms the fine imposed on Samsung in the cathode ray tubes cartel
  2. Court of Justice rules on the Hearing Officer's competence to resolve confidentiality requests
  3. General Court annuls European Commission's merger blocking decision in UPS/TNT for procedural errors 
  4. European Commission launches anonymous whistleblower tool
  5. District Court of Gelderland denies passing-on defense in antitrust litigation related to the GIS-cartel

Team

Related news

08.06.2021 NL law
De Europese Klimaatwet uitgelicht

Short Reads - Op 21 april 2021 is een voorlopig akkoord bereikt over de Europese Klimaatwet. Deze Klimaatwet kan worden gezien als de kern van de Europese Green Deal, die in december 2019 werd gepubliceerd door de Europese Commissie. Het overstijgende doel van deze instrumenten is om een klimaatneutraal Europa te bewerkstelligen in 2050. De Europese Klimaatwet zorgt ervoor dat deze klimaatneutraliteitsdoelstelling in een Europese verordening wordt vastgelegd. Dit blogbericht gaat nader in op de Europese Klimaatwet en legt uit wat dit met zich brengt.

Read more

22.07.2021 NL law
Towards a European legal framework for the development and use of Artificial Intelligence

Short Reads - Back in 2014, Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Although the use of artificial intelligence is nothing new and dates back to Alan Turing (the godfather of computational theory), prominent researchers – along with Stephen Hawking – have expressed their concerns about the unregulated use of AI systems and their impact on society as we know it.

Read more

08.06.2021 NL law
Actualiteiten milieustrafrecht: zorgelijke ontwikkelingen

Short Reads - Vrijdag 28 mei jl. hadden wij een inspirerend webinar over actualiteiten op het gebied van milieustrafrecht. Wij spraken gedurende 90 minuten onder meer over aansprakelijkheden van bestuurders, de zorgplichten, incidentenrapportages vanuit strafrechtelijk- en bestuursrechtelijk perspectief.

Read more

03.06.2021 NL law
First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infringement

Short Reads - In its judgment of 12 May 2021, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that it has not been established that it is definitively excluded that the trucks infringement led to damage to the claimants. However, this does not alter the fact that it must still be assessed for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment procedure has been met. For this to be the case, it must be plausible that a claimant may have suffered damage as a result of the unlawful actions of the truck manufacturers. The Amsterdam District Court has not yet ruled on this issue.

Read more