The European, Middle Eastern and African Antitrust Review 2018

European Union: Directorate General for Competition

15 August 2017

In 2016, the European Commission (the Commission) and its Directorate General for Competition - steered by Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager - have pursued a dynamic policy and enforcement agenda. In its fight against cartels, which remains a top priority, the Commission took six decisions in the course of the year. Four decisions resulted from settlement procedures and two where hybrid cases. In the latter, the Commission settles with companies that acknowledge participation in a cartel and their liability for it and takes ordinary decisions with non-settling parties. The Commission also issued a statement of objections - also known as ‘charge sheet' outside of the EU. The total amount of fines imposed in these decisions was close to €3.75 billion. Other antitrust interventions included four decisions for a total of just over €6 million in fines and five statement of objections. In merger control, the Commission adopted a total of 363 merger decisions (355 in Phase I and 8 in Phase II). Of these 363 transactions, 25 were approved subject to commitments and one was prohibited: the proposed acquisition of O2, owned by Telefónica UK, by Hutchison 3G UK's Three in the market for mobile telephony in the United Kingdom. Last but not least, the Commission took 300 state aid decisions in 2013 ordering member states to recover €14.15 billion in illegal aid, of which around €13 billion is in a single case involving the fiscal aid Irish authorities granted to Apple.

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