The Minister of Economic Affairs (the "Minister") published a draft bill for consultation on 11 July 2014. The draft bill includes a proposal to double the fine maximum for the Authority for Consumers & Markets ("ACM"). The amendment aims to ensure the effectiveness and deterrent effect of the ACM’s market supervision. The consultation process allows interested parties to react to the proposal, after which the Minister intends to propose a final bill proposal to the Dutch Parliament for adoption. The proposal follows reports commissioned by the Minister. These reports concluded that the existing fines have an insufficient deterrent effect. In order to have the required deterrent effect, the Minister proposes several measures. The most important measures are the following:
- Instead of a fine maximum of 10% of the annual turnover, the maximum fine for cartels will be set at 10% of the infringer's turnover for the period of the infringement, up to a four year maximum.
- The applicable fine maximum will be doubled in case of recidivism within a period of five years prior to the adoption of the ACM's statement of objections. This applies to all types of infringements.
- The fine maximum for minor infringements will be doubled from 1% to 2% of the infringer's annual turnover (in those cases in which the fine is established as a percentage of the turnover).