Handbook on European Competition Law
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Handbook on European Competition Law

Substantive Aspects

Edited by Ioannis Lianos and Damien Geradin

Handbook on European Competition Law: Substantive Aspects sets the context for examination of substantive law by reviewing and analyzing the goals of competition law. It then covers the substantive building blocks of EU competition law, including horizontal and vertical agreements, cartels, mergers, and also provides valuable coverage of the interaction between competition and regulation, hub and spoke collusion, and information exchange agreements. The importance of the abuse of dominance doctrine is reflected in three discrete chapters considering exploitative abuses, exclusionary pricing abuses, and exclusionary non-pricing abuses.
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Chapter 5: Cartels

Andreas Stephan


Cartels are universally treated as the most serious infringements of competition law and are usually at the forefront of competition authorities’ enforcement efforts. Practices such as price fixing, market sharing, output restriction and bid-rigging have increasingly attracted unprecedented levels of corporate fines. In addition, the number of jurisdictions criminalizing their cartel laws has increased, allowing for the imprisonment of the individual executives responsible. Leniency programmes have become the defining feature of cartel enforcement. The costly and tricky nature of policing markets is thought to justify a mechanism through which the first infringing firm to self-report receives complete immunity from public sanctions, while subsequent firms to cooperate receive a high (albeit discounted) sanction. Such has been the reported success of leniency programmes that many competition authorities have gone on to streamline their enforcement procedures with systems of direct settlement. These ostensibly allow a speedier conclusion to cartel cases, freeing up resources to be employed investigating the next leniency application.

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