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Parliamentary questions
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19 June 2019
E-001502/2019(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001502/2019

1. The Treaties empower the Commission to pursue breaches of EU competition rules. The Commission has a wide range of investigative powers, such as inspections at business premises and written requests for information. The Commission may also impose fines on companies that violate EU antitrust rules. All these measures contribute to deterring companies from engaging into anticompetitive behaviour and so act as early warning measures.2. The Commission monitors compliance with its decisions by the undertakings concerned. Beyond this, the Commission continously monitors European markets and the information that the Commission gathers from various sources may result in a full-scale antitrust investigation. The Commission has set up a whistleblowers’ tool to make it easier for individuals to alert it about anti-competitive behaviour while maintaining their anonymity. When setting a fine, the Commission may take into account aggravating circumstances. The repetitive nature of an infringement could result in a higher fine.3. Persons or companies that were affected by the anti-competitive behaviour in the Nike case may claim compensation for harm caused to them before courts in the Member States in line with the provisions of the Antitrust Damages Directive as implemented into national law. In such cases, a Commission decision constitutes binding proof that the behaviour took place and was illegal.

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