Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

EU Cartel Fining Laws and Policies in Urgent Need of Reform

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Karl Hofstetter (University of Zurich) expressess concern that EU Cartel Fining Laws and Policies in Urgent Need of Reform.

ABSTRACT: The criticisms against the cartel fining policies of the European Commission are mounting. Feeling the heat, the Commission is finally entering the debate: that's good news. The bad news is the Commission keeps stonewalling. Philip Lowe's GCP online article is no exception. Even though he deserves credit for publicly addressing some of the major substantive and procedural criticisms against the Commission's cartel fining policies, his defensive posture is sobering. By brushing off or ignoring important important arguments against the legal basis under which the current EU cartel fining regime operates, the outgoing head of DG IV shows little sensitivity for the concept of due process. 

At least as astonishing, the chief enforcement officer for EU cartel law seems, at best, marginally interested in crucial questions relating to the effective prevention of cartel law violations. As long as milk and honey are flowing in the form of huge corporate cartel fines, the EU enforcement cadres, it seems, remain remain happy with the status quo. No wonder that the Commission has been bragging repeatedly about the significant contribution these fines are making to the EU's overall budget.

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