Following various proposals in the academic literature, and in the light of the observed decrease in the number of leniency applications received by European competition authorities in the period 2015–2020, the German Monopolies Commission (Monopolkommission) proposed in 2022 to amend the Competition Damages Directive 2014/104/EU so as to immunize companies that have received immunity under the competition authorities’ leniency programmes from follow-on actions for damages. This paper analyses the use of leniency in EU and national anti-cartel enforcement and the development of follow-on actions for damages, discusses the question of what number of leniency applications would be optimal, takes a closer look at the figures, examines the possible and likely causes of the observed evolution of the number of leniency applications, and argues that it would be unwise to grant immunity recipients full protection from damages, because this would be unjust, would harm public anti-cartel enforcement and would increase market concentration.
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