Competition Commissioner Almunia. speaking to the European Parliament’s ECON committee on 22 September 2011, clarified that facilitating collective redress for victims of competition law infringements is just one of several challenges that need to be addressed to “shape the relations between public enforcement and private damages action”.

Commissioner Almunia is expected to put forward proposed legislation in relation to facilitating private actions for antitrust offences. Among the issues that this legislation will have to address are:  

  • The need to regulate access to evidence held by competition authorities without undermining the leniency programme;
  • Statutory time limitations which do not prevent victims of antitrust offences from taking follow-on actions; and
  • Clarification over the binding effect of decisions taken by national competition authorities on national courts in order to facilitate follow-on damages actions.

With respect to collective actions, the Commission is planning to adopt a communication setting out common principles on collective redress by the end of the year which would apply to a range of infractions including breaches of competition law but also consumer and environmental law.