The European Commission launches public consultation on empowering the national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers

The aim of this public consultation is to get feedback from a broad range of stakeholders on potential legislative guarantees that national competition authorities: (1) act independently when enforcing EU competition law, and have the resources and staff needed to do their work; (2) have adequate tools to detect and sanction violations of the EU competition rules; and that (3) their leniency programmes, which encourage companies to come forward with evidence of illegal cartels, can work more effectively across Europe.

How to take part
We encourage you to take part in the consultation which will be open until 12 February. Contributions are to be submitted by replying to the online questionnaire on the EUSurvey website. You can find more information on the public consultation here
Role played by the national competition authorities

The national competition authorities are key partners of the Commission for enforcing the EU competition rules. They need to ensure that national markets work well and fairly for the benefit of consumers and businesses. Since 2004, the national competition authorities have taken 85% of the decisions applying the EU competition rules.

Competition enforcement by the NCAs protects European consumers from cartels that keep the prices of goods and services artificially high (see e.g. the recent cartel decisions by the Belgian and French competition authorities fining companies for coordinated price increases of shampoos, deodorants and household cleaning products). It also gives consumers access to a better choice of innovative goods and services.

Boosting competition enforcement at national level
The national competition authorities could do even more. The 2014 Commission Communication on Ten Years of Regulation 1/2003 identified areas of action to boost the enforcement powers of the national competition authorities. Many are missing the tools and resources they need to be effective enforcers. Moreover, divergences and limitations in their powers can mean very different outcomes for consumers depending on which national competition authority pursues a competition case.
This public consultation is a key stage in the process which will allow the Commission to verify its findings and scope any potential future action to be taken.