On 2 December 2013, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union (“CCEU”) reached a general approach on a draft Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions (“Directive”). Negotiations with the European Parliament (“EP”) can now begin. The initiative aims to facilitate damage claims by victims of EU competition law violations. Further, it will harmonize and ensure effective enforcement of competition law damages rules within the EU, thereby allowing the victims of a cartel to receive full compensation for both the actual loss suffered and for lost profits, while ensuring the effectiveness of leniency programs. The agreement is based on a compromise put forward by the Lithuanian Presidency (“Presidency Compromise”). The main points of the compromise concern the wordings of Articles 7, 9 and 11 of the proposed Directive. In order to allow Member States to protect the documents that have been obtained through access to the file of the competition authority, the Presidency Compromise amends the wording of Article 7 not to predetermine the ways in which Member States shall secure such protection. Further, the cross-border binding effect of national decisions as set out in Article 9 of the Directive has been removed in order to achieve the widest possible agreement and the new Article 9 obliges Member States only to accept the final decisions of national competition authorities as means of evidence, in line with applicable national procedural rules. The Presidency Compromise also limits the protection of leniency applicants against civil liability to what is necessary to neutralize the negative effect of actions for damages on leniency programmes and public enforcement by amending Article 11. Sources: Council of the European Union Press Release 2/12/2013 and Council of the European Union 15983/13
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EU council adopts ‘compromise’ on private antitrust enforcement directive
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