The European Commission recently published a draft directive to
grant greater enforcement powers to national competition
authorities (NCAs). NCAs and courts apply the EU competition rules
within their jurisdictions on the basis of Regulation 1/2003. To ensure the consistent
application of these rules, the European Commission and the 28
national competition authorities of the EU work together in the European
Competition Network. However, not all NCAs currently have the
same enforcement powers. The draft directive aims to address this
problem. Companies should therefore be prepared for an increase in
competition enforcement by NCAs, including a more extensive
enforcement toolbox, a uniform maximum fine level for EU
competition law infringements, and a common set of leniency
The draft directive imposes an obligation on EU member
states to ensure that, when enforcing EU competition law, their
can perform their duties independently, without any political
or other external interference;
have sufficient human, financial and technical resources
available for the performance of their tasks;
have an effective enforcement toolbox, including powers to
conduct dawn raids at company premises and staff members'
homes, and to examine evidence in physical and digital form;
can impose deterrent fines. The proposed Directive seeks to
ensure that the maximum amount of an NCA-imposed fine is not set at
a level below 10% of a company's total worldwide turnover. In
addition, rules should be in place with regard to parental
liability and legal and economic succession so as to prevent
companies from circumventing fines by corporate restructuring;
have leniency programmes in place enabling NCAs to grant
companies immunity from fines or reduction of fines in exchange for
evidence of an alleged secret cartel. The proposed directive sets
out a common set of leniency conditions to remove the currently
diverging leniency outcomes across different member states,
providing companies with more certainty when applying for leniency
in multiple member states;
can assist other NCAs, at their request, in enforcing decisions
to impose fines or periodic penalty payments, if addressed to a
company with no legal presence in the member state of the
The proposed directive will now be
transmitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.
Once adopted, EU member states will need to transpose the directive
into their national laws by a set deadline.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Damages Directive, which seeks to promote and harmonise the private enforcement of EU competition law before national courts across the European Union – and which was first published in December 2014 after more than ten years of debate – was due to be transposed into national law by each Member State by 27 December 2016
Turkey's Court of Cassation recently held that the Consumer Court is the appropriate forum for a lawsuit filed by a consumer against a bank, seeking compensation for damages arising from the bank's competition law violation.
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