Edited by Manfred Neumann and Jürgen Weigand
Without any doubt the fight against hard core cartels ranks top of the agenda of competition authorities these days. For example, the former European Commissioner for Competition, Neelie Kroes, reiterated that a key objective of her tenure was not only to ‘. . . merely destabilise cartels. I want to tear the ground from under them’. The first cartel action taken by her successor, Joaquín Almunia, reinforced the adamant stance: ‘The Commission will continue its relentless fight against cartels’. The already substantial and still increasing efforts of the European Commission (‘Commission’) to fight hard core cartels are reflected in the enforcement record. While the Commission only decided ten cartel cases in the 1995–99 period, the number increased to 30 in the period from 2000–04 and to 33 in the 2005–09 period. The increase in decided cases is accompanied by a strong increase in the overall fines imposed. The 1995–99 period saw fines (not adjusted for court judgments) totalling 292 million Euros. The amount increased to about 3,462 million Euros in the period from 2000–04 and to 9,761 million Euros in the 2005–09 period.
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