Settlements of EU antitrust investigations : Commitment decisions under Article 9 of Regulation No 1/2003

Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 provides for formal settlements of investigations by the European Commission into suspected infringements of Articles 81 or 82 EC. This paper analyses the origin and optimal use of this provision, the procedure for the adoption of commitment decisions, the content and effect of such decisions, and the scope for judicial review. It also explores the possibilities of informal settlement, and of settlements that include the payment of a fine.

I. Text, origin and optimal use 1. Text 1. Regulation No 1/2003 is the main implementing regulation governing the enforcement of Articles 81 and 82 EC. [1] It sets out in particular the powers of the European Commission for the purpose of applying Articles 81 and 82 EC. 2. Article 9, which is part of Chapter III, « Commission decisions », reads as follows : « Article 9 Commitments 1. Where the Commission intends to adopt a decision requiring that an infringement be brought to an end and the undertakings concerned offer commitments to meet the concerns expressed to them by the Commission in its preliminary assessment, the Commission may by decision make those commitments binding on the undertakings. Such a decision may be adopted for a specified period and shall conclude that

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