The European Commission is consulting stakeholders on how to empower the national competition authorities (NCAs) to be more effective enforcers. Responses to the public consultation can be submitted until 12 February 2016.
The commission has identified a number of concrete areas of action to boost enforcement powers of national competition authorities and address differences between national systems.
The entry into force of Regulation 1/2003in 2004 transformed the competition enforcement landscape, giving national competition authorities and national courts a key role in applying the EU rules on restrictive business practices and abuses of dominant market positions (Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - TFEU).
Regulation 1/2003 did not address the means and instruments by which national competition authorities apply EU antitrust rules. The commission identified a number of concrete areas of action to boost enforcement powers of national competition authorities and address differences between national systems. Where the same substantive rules are being applied, it needs to be ensured that divergence in procedural rules do not undermine the level playing field.
The public consultation now invites a broad range of stakeholders to provide feedback on potential improvements:
- to ensure that all national competition authorities have the right tools to detect and sanction violations of EU competition rules;
- to ensure national competition authorities have effective leniency programmes that encourage companies to come forward, possibly in several jurisdictions, with evidence of illegal cartels; and
- to safeguard the independence of national competition authorities when enforcing EU competition law, and ensure they have the resources and staff needed to do their work.
Public consultation (open until 12 February 2016).