Dec 10, 2012
CPI ICN Column edited by Maria Coppola (U.S. Federal Trade Commission) presents:
ICN CWG: Past achievements and future challenges – European Commission’s perspective by Eric Van Ginderachter (European Commission)
Over the last decade, the fight against cartels was amongst the priorities of many competition enforcers, and we have witnessed the flourishing of anti-cartel enforcement regimes throughout the world. The tough line against cartels has allowed us to uncover and sanction many cartels. But let us be frank: there are many more cartels out there restricting competition, slowing down innovation and penalising the consumers. Moreover, these cartels have become more sophisticated, and simultaneously, economic globalisation and the development of instantaneous communications have dramatically changed the way cartels operate. These developments have facilitated the creation of cartel agreements between companies from different countries and continents, and have made the work of competition authorities harder.
These developments leave no doubt that cooperation between enforcers is essential. The Cartel Working Group of the International Competition Network is the framework that allows us to share experiences, learn from each other, and ultimately increase the effectiveness of our fight against cartels.
Since the creation of the Cartel Working Group in 2004, the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission has been playing a very active role in the functioning of the Working Group. Throughout the years, the European Commission has been strongly involved in the governance and the work products of the Working Group: initially as a co-chair of the Group (2004-2012) and since April 2012 as co-chair of its Subgroup 1. From this longtime participant in the working group, this column presents first the structure of the Cartel Working Group, and then the main achievements of the Cartel Working Group, and finally, the challenges ahead.