On behalf of the team

EU cartel probes have tailed off in recent years as the European Commission sees fewer companies coming forward to expose price fixing in return for lower fines.[1] Maria Jaspers, who heads up the European Commission’s anti-cartel division, said that the Commission is “actively assessing” how to make the bloc’s whistleblower programme more “attractive” in light of market changes.

According to the head of Germany’s competition authority, Andreas Mundt, antitrust enforcers need to consider whether to give whistleblowers immunity from follow-on damages.[2] Cancelling the right of third parties to sue a leniency applicant for compensation was a “difficult question from a legal point of view”, Mundt noted. If that were to happen, the Commission would likely have to revisit an EU directive from 2014 that sets out how customers can sue for damages suffered at the hands of price fixers.

[1] Lewis Crofts and Nicholas Hirst, ‘EU’s whistleblower program may get tweaks to encourage cartel disclosures, senior official says’, MLex 22 September 2021.

[2] Nicholas Hirst and Tono Gil, ‘Cartel whistleblowers may need protection from damages actions, Bundeskartellamt chief says’, MLex 14 September 2021.