Antitrust: Commission publishes report on implementation of Damages Directive

(Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. Co-operators:
Photographer: Dati Bendo
European Union, 2020
Source: EC – Audiovisual Service)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The European Commission has published a report on the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive which helps citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules, such as cartels or abuses of dominant market positions. Based on the findings of the report, the Commission has drawn positive conclusions as regards the consistent implementation of its rules. In line with the requirements in the Directive, the report has been sent to the European Parliament and the Council.

The 2014 Antitrust Damages Directive pursues two complementary goals. First, it removes practical obstacles to compensation for all victims of infringements of EU antitrust law. Second, the Directive fine-tunes the interplay between private damages actions and public enforcement of the EU antitrust rules by the Commission and national competition authorities.

By 2018, all Member States had implemented the Directive. The Commission assessed whether the national implementing rules are conform with the Directive. This assessment has not revealed any systemic issues.

The report takes stock of the implementation of the rules concerning some of the core rules of the Directive, such as the right to full compensation, disclosure of evidence, evidentiary value of infringement decisions, limitation periods, passing on of overcharges and estimation of harm.

The report also notes that since the adoption of the Damages Directive in 2014, the number of damages actions before national courts has significantly increased and damages actions have become much more widespread in the EU. Therefore, while the effectiveness of the measures will depend on their actual implementation by the national courts, the rights of victims of antitrust infringements have been already substantially strengthened.

The Commission intends to continue to monitor the developments in the Member States with a view to reviewing the Directive, once sufficient experience from the application of its rules is available.

Background

In November 2014, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Antitrust Damages Directive (Directive 2014/104/EU). The deadline for transposing the Directive into Member States’ legal systems expired on 27 December 2016. All Member States had transposed the Directive in their legal systems by 2018.

A list of the implementing measures and more information on the Directive are available here.

Article 20 of the Damages Directive requires the Commission to review the Directive and submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on its application. However, late implementation, the temporal application scope of the national implementing rules and the limited number of judgments in which national courts applied them so far mean that there is insufficient experience on the application of the Directive at this point.

For this reason, the report focuses on an overview of the implementation of the main rules of the Directive and of the various actions that the Commission has taken to ensure its effectiveness and to develop damages actions. The report also takes stock of key rulings from the Court of Justice of the EU in the area of private enforcement.

The report is available online.

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