ARTICLE : EUROPEAN COMMISSION - DIRECT SETTLEMENT PROCEDURE - CARTEL CASES - COMPANIES - INVESTIGATION - COOPERATION - EFFICIENCY - NEGOTIATION - STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS - FINES - ARTICLES 7 - 23 EC COUNCIL REGULATION 1/2003

EC antitrust direct settlement proceeedings: An EC point of view

The European Commission proposes to set a settlement procedure to enable itself (with the parties’ agreement) to simplify the ordinary procedure in appropriate cartel cases. Companies subject to an investigation and convinced that the Commission can prove their involvement in a cartel on the basis of evidence in the investigation file, may be interested in a faster procedure and a reduction of the fine for their cooperation to procedural efficiency. This cooperation implies that the parties concerned acknowledge their involvement in the cartel. In the course of the settlement procedure, the right of the parties to be heard is guaranteed. The settlement procedure does not imply any negotiation or bargaining about evidence, objections or fines. The Commission will always adopt a decision establishing the infringement and imposing fines, up to the standard required by Articles 7 and 23 of Council Regulation 1/2003. Within the current institutional and legal framework, the Commission proposes an original system which is different from other existing settlement regimes.*

* The views expressed in this article are strictly personal to the authors and can not bind the European Commission.

1. A l'automne 2007, la Commission européenne a adopté un projet de communication sur les procédures de transaction engagées dans les affaires d'entente (ci-après la communication) et un projet de modification du règlement (CE) n°773/2004 de la Commission du 7 avril 2004 relatif aux procédures mises en œuvre par la Commission en application des articles 81 et 82 du traité CE (ci-après le règlement). Ces deux projets ont été soumis à consultation publique, le 26 octobre 2007. 2. Riche de sa longue pratique décisionnelle dans le domaine de la lutte contre les ententes, la Commission est parvenue à la conclusion que, dans les affaires où la démonstration de la commission de l'infraction ne soulève pas de contestation majeure, la Commission pourrait convenir, avec les entreprises visées par l'instruction,

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Eric Cuziat, María Luisa Tierno Centella, EC antitrust direct settlement proceeedings: An EC point of view, May 2008, Concurrences Review N° 2-2008, Art. N° 16189, pp. 76-83

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