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Empowering national competition authorities (NCAs) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cemal Karakas (2nd edition, updated on 18.2.2019),

© Jr Casas / Fotolia

Since 2003, national competition authorities (NCAs) have boosted the enforcement of EU competition and antitrust rules significantly. However, each year losses of €181-320 billion accrue because of undiscovered cartels, which increase prices by between 17 % and 30 % on average. In March 2017, the Commission proposed a new directive to ensure that all NCAs have effective investigation and decision-making tools, could impose deterrent fines, and have well-designed leniency programmes and enough resources to enforce EU competition rules independently.

On 30 May 2018, Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the proposal in trilogue. It increases the independence, resources and powers of NCAs and envisages more harmonisation of the national leniency programmes and reduced burdens on undertakings. Parliament adopted the text on 14 November 2018, the final act was signed on 11 December 2018.

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Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market
Committee responsible:


Shadow rapporteurs:




Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON)

Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany)

Tibor Szanyi (S&D, Hungary)
Joachim Starbatty (ECR, Germany)
Petr Ježek (ALDE, Czech Republic)
Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL, Spain)
Michel Reimon (Greens/EFA, Austria)
Barbara Kappel (ENF, Austria)

COM(2017) 142 of 22.3.2017


Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)

Procedure completed. Directive (EU) 2019/1
OJ L 11, 14.1.2019, pp. 3-33.

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