Recidivism has in the last few years attracted much attention and controversy in the context of EU antitrust enforcement. The treatment of recidivism by the European Commission and the EU Courts has often been criticised, and the observed incidence of recidivism has led to some questioning of the overall effectiveness of EU antitrust enforcement. This paper first clarifies the concept of recidivism and then analyses the treatment of recidivism as an aggravating circumstance in setting the amount of fines, the interplay between recidivism and leniency, and the difficulty of drawing conclusions as to the overall effectiveness of EU antitrust enforcement from the observed incidence of recidivism.
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