- ASCOLA Competition Law series
Edited by Roger Zäch, Andreas Heinemann and Andreas Kellerhals
Chapter 10: Is Criminalisation of EU Competition Law the Answer?
10. Is Criminalisation of EU Competition Law the Answer? Wouter P.J. Wils* 1 1.1 WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ‘CRIMINALISATION’? No Definition of ‘Criminal’ in EC or EU law Article 23(5) of Regulation No 1/2003,1 the main regulation governing the enforcement of Articles 81 and 82 EC, provides that decisions by which the European Commission imposes fines on undertakings for violations of Articles 81 and 82 EC, or for obstruction of investigations into possible violations, ‘shall not be of a criminal law nature’.2 The last sentence of Recital 8 of the same Regulation says that ‘this Regulation does not apply to national laws which impose criminal sanctions on natural persons except to the extent that such sanctions are the means whereby competition rules applicable to undertakings are enforced’.3 The EU Treaty has a Title VI concerning ‘Provisions on police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters’. Article 30(a) EU provides that common action in the field of police co-operation shall include operational co-operation in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of ‘criminal offences’. Article 31 EU provides for common action on judicial * Member of the Legal Service of the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium, Visiting Professor at King’s College London. 1 Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules of competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty  OJ L1/1. This regulation has replaced, as of 1 May 2004, Council Regulation No 17  OJ 13/204 (Special...
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