Volume 47 (2010) / Issue 2
This article examines the concept of a single, overall agreement in EU competition law, in particular in relation to Article 101 TFEU. The concept has generated great controversy, not least because it can affect whether or not the Commission’s power to impose penalties is time-barred. While such limitation makes enforcement harder, companies also have a right to certainty. The article explains the origin and implications of finding a single, overall agreement (also known as a single and continuous infringement). The article then suggests five conditions for characterizing agreements and/or concerted practices as the constituent elements of a single, overall agreement. In particular, it argues that it is not necessary for each offending undertaking to produce every one of the cartelized products. Rather the key issue should be the interdependence between the various cartel arrangements and, for example, whether their duration, types of cartel behaviour and objectives are closely linked.
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