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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 ...

The IA consistently emphasises the benefits of effective enforcement of EU competition law throughout the EU and assesses the contribution of the screened policy options to the general and specific objectives of the proposal. Its strengths lie in the solid expertise, based on internal and external research, its clear structure and its overall coherence. The analysis of the problems and their causes, and of the objectives, is comprehensive and concise. However, despite a clear attempt to comply with ...

Both the EU and the US have well-developed competition policies that aim to prevent and penalise anticompetitive behaviour. Although the EU and US systems share similar aims, there are a number of significant differences. The EU has an administrative system for antitrust enforcement, in which companies are penalised with fines. In contrast, US antitrust enforcement is based on criminal law, with financial and custodial penalties against individuals.

Anti-competitive practices cause substantial harm to the EU's economy, but currently only some Member States provide for victims to sue for damages suffered. Yet, even in these cases, high costs and procedural and legal obstacles may discourage individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises from exercising their rights.