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EU Commission launches far-reaching Consultation on National Authorities’ Antitrust Enforcement Powers

Jay Modrall, Norton Rose Fulbright Memorandum, November 2015

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On November 4, the European Commission published a far-reaching consultation (the Consultation) on proposals to boost the enforcement powers of national competition authorities (NCAs) and to address differences between national competition enforcement systems in the European Union. The Consultation builds on the 2014 Communication on Ten Years of Regulation 1/2003 (the Communication) but also reflects investigations by DG Competition since the Communication was published. The changes discussed in the Communication relate to three main areas:

-safeguarding NCAs’ independence, while ensuring they have sufficient resources and staff;
-ensuring that all NCAs have a harmonised set of tools to detect and sanction violations of EU competition rules; and
- harmonising certain aspects of national leniency programs.

The consultation is open until February 12, 2016. Although at this stage the Commission is only seeking views from stakeholders, the Consultation is a significant step in what will likely be the most significant reform of EU competition law enforcement since Regulation 1/2003 entered into force in 2004. According to the Commission’s work programme, the Commission expects to propose legislation reflecting the results of its consultation in early 2017.

The topics on which the Commission is seeking input are broken down between a number of general questions and more specific questions for stakeholders active in competition matters. The Commission’s questions are summarized below.

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