For the first time, Spain’s National Competition Commission has approved fining guidelines for infringements of Spain’s competition law and EC competition law. Under EC law, Member States are authorised to enforce both their own national competition laws and EC competition law rules, namely Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty.
According to Spain's fining guidelines, the basic fine for infringements of competition law will vary between 10 and 30 per cent of the infringing company’s turnover in the affected markets during the period of the infringement. The guidelines also permit individual fines to be imposed on the infringing company’s managers. Finally, as regards duration, the guidelines indicate that the basic fine will first be calculated based on the infringing company’s turnover in the final year of the offence. That amount may then be increased to reflect the length of the offence, but the relative weight of each additional year will be reduced by a given percentage. This is distinct from the European Commission’s approach to fining, which multiplies the “last year turnover” by a percentage of up to 30 per cent and then multiplies by the number of years of the offence without any reduction. This has led to staggering fines in recent years.
To date, commentators view Spain’s fining guidelines as likely to produce proportionate fines and introduce greater legal certainty.