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CONSUMERS : THREE-WAY AGREEMENT ON COMPENSATION FOR CARTEL VICTIMS.

Parliament, Council and Commission have reached an agreement on the proposed directive allowing for collective redress in cartel cases

Several more technical meetings will be required to fine-tune the text, but the main elements have already been wrapped up. A meeting on the evening of 18 March resulted in a compromise on the future directive, which harmonises opportunities for victims of anti-trust cartels between companies within the EU to claim damages. Individuals and companies harmed by such cartels would have five years to make a claim, with a suspension during the time of the investigation.

Parliament and Council have enhanced the methods available to demonstrate harm inflicted or profits lost - compared to the text proposed by the Commission in June 2013. In particular, this means allowing a decision by a competition authority (either a national authority or the Commission) to sanction a cartel to be accepted at least as proof in another member state (in the absence of full recognition). An extra year will be added to the deadline in case of suspension for an inquiry, which will be counted from the date of publication of the sanction - so as not to prevent victims from preparing their redress when the five years have expired.

Parliament has succeeded in introducing voluntary compensation of victims by a company, which will be taken into account by competition authorities when reducing fines. This is one method of obtaining compensation more rapidly.

Moreover, the judge in charge of the redress will be given access to documents from the inquiry, including those from the blacklist - such as acknowledgement of wrongdoing by the company - to verify whether these documents contain evidence of harm inflicted.a

Finally, to avoid the excesses witnessed in the US and to guarantee the equity of the compensation, double damages have been excluded.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:Mar 20, 2014
Words:300
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