Volume 44 (2007) / Issue 5
This article covers the major developments and general trends in EC competition law and policy in 2006. It discusses new EC legislation and other instruments adopted by the Commission of the European Communities, such as the steps taken to strengthen the Commission’s enforcement of the competition rules by the adoption of the 2006 Guidelines on the method of setting fines and the 2006 Leniency Notice. The decisional practice of the Commission is considered, in particular in the fields of cartels, fines and penalty payments, and merger control, along with recent policy initiatives, such as the potential roles of direct settlements of infringement proceedings and of private enforcement, primarily through damages actions for breaches of the competition rules. The case law of the Court of Justice and Court of First Instance during the period is surveyed. Important judgments regarding key concepts affecting the general application of the substantive provisions of Articles 81 EC and 82 EC, such as Meca-Medina, FENIN, SELEX and O2 Germany are addressed, as well as a number of rulings by the CFI on procedural issues, including certain rulings on the Austrian Banks — Club Lombard proceedings. Key case law on vertical agreements, such as GSK and Unilever Bestfoods is dealt with, as are the principal judgments concerning cartels and competitor cooperation, which principally focus on the levels of financial penalties imposed and largely confirm the Commission’s wide discretion in that area.
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