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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 the Commission proposed a Directive on 11 June 2013 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.

The proposal is currently being discussed by the other EU Institutions. The most recent developments regarding the legislative process can be found here.

Read more in the "Frequently asked questions": Why this proposal? What are the main measures proposed? What is the relationship with Collective Redress Initiative? Why a Directive? When will it enter into force?

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.