Antitrust: Commission proposes legislation to facilitate damage claims by victims of antitrust violations
EU News 280/2013
Brussels, 11 June 2013
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Directive on how citizens and companies can claim damages when they are victims of infringements of the EU antitrust rules, such as cartels and abuses of a dominant market position. The proposal is set to remove a number of practical difficulties which victims frequently face when they try to receive a fair compensation for the damage they have suffered.
Fair compensation for consumers and SMEs all over Europe
The EU Court of Justice has recognised the right for all victims of antitrust infringements to be compensated for the harm suffered. However, due to procedural obstacles and legal uncertainty, only few of these victims actually manage to obtain compensation. This situation particularly affects consumers and SMEs, which most often do not engage in legal action for reparation of their harm. Indeed, in only 25% of all antitrust infringement decisions the Commission took in the past seven years did the victims seek to obtain compensation. Moreover, national rules are widely diverging across Europe and, as a result, the chances of victims to obtain compensation greatly depend on which Member State they happen to live in.
The proposed Directive aims to remove these practical obstacles, making it easier for whoever has been harmed by competition law infringement to effectively obtain damages throughout the EU. Its provisions would apply to the legal actions which are available in Member States. In parallel, the Commission has adopted a recommendation encouraging Member States to set up collective redress mechanisms in order to improve access to justice for victims of violations of EU law in general, including competition rules (IP/13/524).
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