The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court holds that the absence of a party to a hard-core arrangement from the market concerned rules out an infringement of the local equivalent of Art. 81 EC by this party (Vegetable Oil Manufacturers and Suppliers / CPC)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (“SAC”) thrashed out the fundamentals of the notion of “anticompetitive agreement” under the local equivalent [1] of Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty in a recent cartel case judgment. The aftermath is somewhat cryptic but possibly instructive: the SAC held that parties to a hard-core arrangement that were not active in the market concerned by it could not in fact breach the antitrust rules; therefore, they may not be held accountable for a competition law infringement. Grasping the exact rationale behind the ruling involves a fair amount of guesswork. But the semantics of the ruling could lead the way to either reviving the polemics on “object v effect infringement” or gauging the role of intention for establishing an anticompetitive agreement. 1.

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Dessislava Fessenko, The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court holds that the absence of a party to a hard-core arrangement from the market concerned rules out an infringement of the local equivalent of Art. 81 EC by this party (Vegetable Oil Manufacturers and Suppliers / CPC), 27 March 2009, e-Competitions Bulletin March 2009, Art. N° 26203

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