The European Antitrust Review 2009

Spain: Cartels

01 January 1900

The Spanish Competition Act entered into force on 1 September 2007 (Law 15/2007, 3 July, on Defence of Competition) (the Competition Act) which replaces former Law 16/1989, 17 July. In addition, the Spanish government has recently adopted Royal Decree 261/2008 of 22 February 2008, for the implementation of the Regulation on Defence of Competition (the Royal Decree), which came into force on the 28 February 2008 and deals with the execution of some essential aspects of the Law 15/2007, such as conduct of minor importance, promotion of competition, and proceedings. The CNC also recently published provisional guidelines relating to the handling of applications for exemptions and reduction of fines with the aim of serving as a reference for leniency applicants. The enforcement system is also completed by Law 1/2002 on coordination of competence between central and regional bodies, adopted in response to a Constitutional Court judgment holding that regional governments are also competent in the field of enforcement (the Law 1/2002). The Competition Act aims at reinforcing existing mechanisms and providing the tools and optimal institutional structure to protect competition in the market. At the same time, it takes into account the changes introduced at EC level, notably Regulation 1/2003 setting out procedures for the enforcement of article 81 and article 82 EC prohibitions, and the powers of regional governments in this field. The new system is based on the experience gained in the past 15 years in the application of both Spanish and EC law. Law 1/2002 has been slightly amended by the Competition Act in order to reflect some of the new changes.

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