At this Competition and Trade task force briefing, participants heard an overview of current methods, but also challenges and prospects that the European Commission faces when enforcing and fighting cartels.
Four recent decisions, including the maritime car carriers’ decision and the capacitors’ decision, have been adopted by the European Commission’s competition directorate since February 2018 for breaching antitrust regulations, resulting in hundreds of million in fines for the companies taking part in cartels (€395 million and €254 million for maritime car’s and capacitors’ suppliers respectively).
The issue of compliance was extensively addressed during this briefing. An effective compliance strategy is essential in order for businesses to proactively respect competition rules. To that regard, the Commission has produced its own guideline of compliance, called “Compliance matters”. The importance of fines in deterring companies from joining cartels was mentioned during the event.
During the briefing a special focus was put on leniency, which allowed for an enlightening discussion between our members and the speaker. In force since 1996, leniency has proved to be very successful in fighting cartels, along with other detection and investigation tools that the Commission uses. As ¾ of cartel cases originate from leniency applications, its importance cannot be underestimated. The main challenges to leniency, including overlapping demands of authorities and the inconsistent protection of individuals, were put forward, along with the different strategies used to maintain the attractiveness of leniency.
Francesco Rosatti from RBB Economics shared his insight of the event with us: “This event is very important for my everyday work as it fits into the portfolio that I’m following, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the policy debate by participating in this event.”
Deputy-Head of Unit in Cartels Directorate | European Commission
Chris Mayock has spent eleven years working at the European Commission's DG Competition. He is currently Deputy-Head of Unit in Cartels Directorate having previously acted as a Case Manager and Policy Adviser. Prior to joining the Commission Chris worked at the UK Office of Fair Trading (now the Competition & Markets Authority) and held a number of positions over a six year period including Director of Cartel Investigations, Director of Media, Sport & IT, Director of Policy and Deputy Director of Competition. Before embarking on his public sector career Chris worked as a lawyer in private practice with Simmons & Simmons. He has a Master's Degree in European Law from the College of Europe, Bruges and speaks fluent English and French.