Economic and Legal Implications for the EU Member States
Edited by Katalin J. Cseres, Maarten Pieter Schinkel and Floris O.W. Vogelaar
Chapter 9: Criminalization and Leniency: Will the Combination Favourably Affect Cartel Stability?
9. Criminalization and leniency: will the combination favourably affect cartel stability? Patrick Massey1 1 INTRODUCTION The past decade has witnessed a growing recognition throughout the European Union of the serious harm inﬂicted on consumers and on the economy by what have come to be described as ‘hard-core’ cartels, that is, price-ﬁxing and market-sharing cartels.2 The exposure by the US authorities during the 1990s, of a series of major international cartels operating on a worldwide basis, undoubtedly highlighted the serious harm caused by such cartels. The reform of EU competition policy enshrined in Regulation/1/2003 was prompted, in large part, by a recognition that efforts to detect and discourage such cartels needed to be stepped up considerably. Speaking prior to the Regulation’s introduction, for example, the then Competition Commissioner, Mario Monti, conceded that: ‘We are not in a position to be active on our own initiative – to go on the ground and make investigations and dawn raids and identify the really threatening hard-core cartels’.3 Increased recognition of the damage caused by cartels has prompted a number of countries, including Ireland and the UK, to introduce criminal sanctions in the form of jail sentences for those involved in such activities. There have also been some calls for the introduction of criminal penalties for cartels in other Member States and possibly at EU level.4 Similarly many competition agencies including the EU Commission and those in many Member States have introduced leniency programmes following the apparent success of such a programme in the...
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