On 3 March 2014, the Commission published a policy brief describing the prohibition and commitment decisions that it may adopt when enforcing Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) and the reasons for choosing one or the other in a particular case. According to the policy brief, a prohibition decision is a clear ban of anti-competitive behaviour based on the finding of an infringement. The Commission will adopt a prohibition decision when the primary goal is to punish for past behaviour. Prohibition decisions may also be more helpful than commitment decisions to the victims of antitrust violations seeking to obtain damages. Further, the Commission is also more likely to opt for a prohibition decision if it is important to set a legal precedent or when the only commitment that is or can be offered is to cease the anti-competitive behaviour. In a commitment decision, the Commission accepts legally binding commitments offered by a company to address the Commission’s concerns. Adopting a commitment decision allows the Commission to impose a fine if the company breaches the commitments it has entered into. Commitment decisions have several advantages over prohibition decisions, generally resulting from the more cooperative nature of the procedure. Moreover, commitment decisions are seen to have a more immediate impact on the functioning of the market concerned. This has proven to be particularly important in markets that are in the process of liberalisation, such as the energy sector, or evolving markets such as the IT-sector. Furthermore, commitment decisions provide for more effective remedies, i.e. prohibition decisions tend to prohibit and sanction infringements committed in the past whereas commitment decisions are forward-looking and the company commits to a specific behaviour with long-lasting effects on the market. Commitment decisions tend to also be easier and quicker to implement as regards structural and behavioural measures aimed at solving competition concerns. Ultimately, the choice between a prohibition decision and a commitment decision depends on the objectives pursued: deterrence, punishment and precedent value on the one hand and efficient and swift solving of competition concerns on the other. Source: Competition policy brief 03/03/2014