New EU rules to make it easier to claim compensation from price-fixing cartels

Sharon Bowles MEPToday MEPs voted through new rules that will strengthen ability of consumers and businesses to claim compensation when harmed by an infringement of competition law such as price-fixing cartels.

Currently, due to procedural obstacles and legal uncertainty, few victims actually manage to obtain compensation. Victims only sought compensation in a quarter of all the antitrust infringement decisions taken by the European Commission over the past seven years.

The new rules will make it easier for consumers and small businesses to claim by lowering the burden of proof and adding legal certainty. In particular, the rules concerning price increases that are “passed on” along the supply chain have been clarified ensuring that consumers at the end of the supply chain are entitled to compensation.

The European Commission is currently investigating the possible manipulation of energy price benchmarks by companies including Shell and BP which could have artificially increased the price of petrol for consumers.

Sharon Bowles said:

“Today’s vote is a great day for the consumer and a blow to all those who seek to profit from infringing competition law.

“From now on it will be much easier to claim compensation when companies have colluded to keep prices artificially high, especially for those at the end of the supply chain.

“In addition the practice whereby cases are brought under certain jurisdictions because offending parties know they will get softer treatment will finally be brought to an end.”

Notes to Editors

Today was the final vote on the legislation, the full text can be found here

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