Enforcement and Procedure
- Elgar original reference
Edited by Ioannis Lianos and Damien Geradin
Chapter 6: The EU competition law fining system
The fines imposed by the European Commission (the ‘Commission’) on undertakings for infringements of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) have risen significantly over the last 20 years. The evolution of the general level of corporate fines in the European Union (‘EU’) seems to be in great part due to the Commission’s desire to increase deterrence. Sanctions are of course necessary for any legal obligation to be truly effective. They must also be sufficiently severe to achieve deterrence. However, the high level of recidivism in the EU casts doubt on the effectiveness of the imposition of increasingly high corporate fines. Without denying the importance of corporate fines, additional types of sanctions and incentives may have to be introduced to ensure the effective enforcement of EU competition law. This issue as well as others relating to the scope of parental liability, the rise of private enforcement, the need for legal certainty and the modernized effects-based approach are of concern not only for large corporations, but also for SMEs, whose viability can sometimes be compromised by high corporate fines.
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