COVID-19 Impacts Payments Of EU Antitrust Fines

As well as granting companies leeway on certain COVID-19 initiated collaborations, the coronavirus outbreak has also led competition authorities to take a more lenient stance towards fine calculations and payments. 

The European Commission has extended the due date for fine payments by an additional three months in response to potential short-term liquidity issues brought about by the pandemic. Similar reasons led the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeal Tribunal to reduce a EUR 1 million cartel fine to just EUR 10,000.

Companies should realize that competition authorities are willing to take the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting short-term liquidity issues into consideration when dealing with cartel fines, reported Stibbe. 

The impact of the pandemic was also one of the reasons for the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) – the highest court for public enforcement of cartel cases – to reduce a cartel fine from EUR 1 million to EUR 10,000.