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Antitrust

Actions for Damages > Overview

Towards more effective antitrust damages actions in Europe

Infringements of the EU competition rules, such as price cartels and abuses of a dominant position in the market, are not only negative for the economy and consumers as a whole: they also cause direct harm to the infringer's customers and competitors (e.g. higher prices, lost profits).

The European Court of Justice held that any citizen or business who suffers harm as a result of such breaches is entitled to compensation from the infringers.

However, most victims of antitrust infringements, particularly SMEs and consumers, rarely obtain reparation for the harm suffered. The exercise of the right to compensation is governed by national rules. These often make it costly and difficult to bring actions, so that compensation is not available for victims in all Member States.

That is why on 11 June 2013 the Commission proposed a Directive on antitrust damages actions to remove the main obstacles standing in the way of effective compensation, and guarantee a minimum protection for citizens and businesses, everywhere in the EU. On 17 April 2014, the European Parliament adopted a text the Directive which was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council during the ordinary legislative procedure. The agreed text of the Directive has been sent to the EU Council of Ministers for final approval.

You can find the text adopted by the Parliament, the Commission proposal, press releases, frequently asked questions and other documents here.

Information on the state of play of the ordinary legislative procedure and the key provisions of the proposal can be found here.

The proposal follows up on earlier policy initiatives in this field, in particular a 2005 Green Paper and a 2008 White Paper. See these documents and other preparatory work and external expertise gathered by the Commission on the key documents webpage.

The Commission also took initiatives on two other issues relevant to antitrust damages actions:

Aside from these specific policy initiatives, the Commission is committed to providing assistance to national courts in the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. This includes a funding programme for training of national judges in EU competition law and judicial cooperation between national judges.