Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

Living Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

European Union Anti-cartel Policy

  • J. M. Ordóñez-de-HaroEmail author
  • J. R. Borrell
  • J. L. Jiménez
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7883-6_665-1


The fight against cartels started in European Union since its foundation in 1957 and the passing of the Regulation empowering the Commission to enforce competition rules since 1962. However, anti-cartel policy was very ineffective in its early years from 1962 to 1980. It also had a lot of enforcement problems to uncover cartels until 1995. It was in 1996, when the leniency program was set up, when it truly became an increasingly effective policy. The leniency program is a mechanism by which infringing firms that have been active in a cartel can obtain fine reductions by providing hard evidence to the Commission about the existence and functioning of any cartel. The improving of the leniency program in 2002 and 2006, and the adoption of tougher fining policies and settlement procedure, has made cartel-busting policy much more effective in the last decade, but there is still much uncertainty to what extend anti-cartel policy will keep this trend of being more effective in the future.


European Union Private Enforcement Cartel Case Leniency Program Settlement Procedure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Arp DJ, Swaak CR (2003) A tempting offer: immunity from fines for cartel conduct under the European Commission’s new leniency notice. Eur Compet Law Rev 24(1):9–18Google Scholar
  2. Barbier de La Serre E, Lagathu E (2013) The law on fines imposed in EU competition proceedings: faster, higher, harsher. J Eur Compet Law Pract 4(4):325–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borrell JR, Jiménez JL, García C (2014) Evaluating antitrust leniency programs. J Compet Law Econ 10(1):107–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borrell JR, Jiménez JL, Ordóñez de Haro JM (2015) The leniency programme: obstacles on the way to collude. J Antitrust Enfor 3(1):149–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carree M, Günster A, Schinkel MP (2010) European antitrust policy 1957–2004: an analysis of commission decisions. Rev Ind Organ 36:97–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Diemer C (2006) The green paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules. Eur Compet Law Rev 27(3):309–316Google Scholar
  7. Geradin D, Henry D (2005) The EC fining policy for violations of competition law: an empirical review of the commission decisional practice and the community courts’ judgments. Eur Compet J 1(2):401–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lowe P (2008) The design of competition policy institutions for the 21st century-the experience of the European Commission and DG Competition. Compet Policy Newsl 2008-3:1–11Google Scholar
  9. McGowan L (2005) Europeanization unleashed and rebounding: assessing the modernization of EU cartel policy. J Eur Publ Policy 12(6):986–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. McGowan L (2009) Any nearer to victory in the 50-year war? Assessing the European Commission’s leadership, weapons and strategies towards combating cartels. Perspect Eur Polit Soc 10(3):283–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mehta K, Tierno ML (2008) Settlement procedure in EU cartel cases. Compet Law Int 4:11–16Google Scholar
  12. Ordóñez de Haro JM, Borrell JR, Jiménez JL (2016) European Commission’s fight against cartels (1962–2014): a retrospective and forensic analysis. MimeoGoogle Scholar
  13. Pheasant J (2006) Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules: the European Commission’s green paper. Eur Compet Law Rev 27(7):365–381Google Scholar
  14. Sandhu JS (2007) The European Commission’s leniency policy: a success? Eur Compet Law Rev 28(3):148–157Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Ordóñez-de-Haro
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. R. Borrell
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. L. Jiménez
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Teoría e Historia Económica y Cátedra de Política de CompetenciaUniversidad de MálagaMálagaSpain
  2. 2.Secció de Polítiques Públiques, Dep. d’Econometria, Estadística i Economia Aplicada, Grup de Governs i Mercats (GiM)Institut d’Economia Aplicada (IREA), Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.IESE Business School, Public-Private Sector Research CenterUniversity of NavarraNavarraSpain
  4. 4.Facultad de Economía, Empresa y Turismo. Despacho D. 2-12Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain