Competition Defence Guidelines Adjusted to EU Model

8 February 2008

In order to adjust the Spanish model to the EU one, Law 15/07 dated July 3, 2007 created the National Competition Commission (CNC in Spanish) to integrate the former Competition Defence Service and Tribunal. This law went into effect on September 1, 2007.

The CNC is composed of two separate organs, the Investigation Directorship and the Council which independently carry out their respective instructive and decision-making duties under the supervision and coordination of the president of the institution.

As regards their activity, there have been the following changes:

  • A “clemency mechanism” has been introduced to pardon or reduce the fines for companies that collaborate in the detection and investigation of cartels. Said mechanism has been a very effective tool in the fight against cartels within the EU community and abroad.
  • Also included is a clarification of the criteria for the setting of fines to aid in the fight against restrictive conduct. The aim is to prevent abuse and mete out fines in proportion to the damages caused by said conduct.
  • Further, it excludes conduct considered to be of minor importance which will not significantly affect market competition from the prohibition. It also eliminates the specific ban on the abuse of economic dependence although it can still be pursued as unfair competition.
  • Lastly, it eliminates the authorization system for non-competition agreements, establishing a system under which the companies themselves will evaluate whether or not their agreements with third parties meet the law’s criteria for exemption.

For further information, please contact César García de Quevedo: cgarcia@mmmm.es