'Today’s Softness is Tomorrow’s Nightmare’: Intensifying the Fight against Cartels in Brussels and Bonn

Lee McGowan, Eleanor Morgan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The pursuit of hard-core cartel activity represents the core aspect of modern antitrust. Since the late 1990s, increased recognition of dangers posed by cartelization has led European competition regulators to initiate organizational changes and to modernize procedures and practice to combat cartels. However, has policy toward hard-core cartels softened in a harsher economic environment from late 2008? This article provides a comparative examination of the approach towards cartels by the European Commission and, at the national level, by the German Bundeskartellamt. It argues that, on current evidence, any doubts about how far the heightened anti-cartel drive could be sustained in the economic downturn post 2008 should be put aside. While some adjustments to fines have been made to take into account inability to pay in exceptional circumstances, no special provisions have been introduced to allow crisis cartels and it appears that the legislation continues to be interpreted strictly by the competition authorities as before.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)603-622
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of European Integration
    Volume34
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

    Keywords

    • cartel policy, European Union, Germany

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