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Antitrust

Actions for Damages > Overview

  • Overview: Towards effective antitrust damages actions in Europe
  • Damages directive: Everything about the Directive, preparatory work, case-law
  • Evidence in the file: Public consultation on changes to Regulation 773/2004 and four related Notices.
  • Collective redress: Commission Recommendation on collective redress
  • Quantification of harm: Commission Communication and Practical Guide on quantifying antitrust harm in damages actions

Towards more effective antitrust damages actions in Europe

Infringements of the EU antitrust rules (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU), such as price cartels or abuses of a dominant position in the market, are not only detrimental for the economy and consumers at large: they also cause concrete harm to infringers' customers and competitors (e.g. higher prices, lost profits).

The Court of Justice of the European Union has established that any citizen or business has a right to full compensation for the harm caused to them by an infringement of the EU antitrust rules.

However, most victims, particularly SMEs and consumers, rarely obtain compensation in practice. The right to compensation is an EU right, but its exercise is governed by national rules. These often make it costly and difficult to bring antitrust damages actions.

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 to guarantee a minimum protection for citizens and businesses, everywhere in the EU. Following ordinary legislative procedure, the Directive was signed into law on 26 November 2014 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 5 December 2014. Member States need to implement the Directive in their legal systems by 27 December 2016.

You can find the text of the Directive and an explanation of its main provisions, the Commission proposal, preparatory work, relevant case-law and other documents here.

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

  • Commission Recommendation on collective redress, which concerns all breaches of EU law, and thus is also relevant for harm suffered by victims of breaches of EU competition law, particularly victims that individually suffered relatively low-value damage.
  • Commission Communication and Practical Guide on quantifying antitrust harm in damages actions.

Apart from the above legislation and 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.