In its recent Cartes Bancaires decision, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) underlined that there are strict limits to object restrictions, which must be respected. In recent years, the European Commission (EC) has been seen to label as object restrictions conduct beyond hard core cartel, which had created considerable uncertainty, particularly for firms that are active in sectors where contact and co-operation between industry players is required for the proper functioning of the marketplace. In the Cartes Bancaires decision, however, the ECJ found that there was no basis for the EC to treat this case as an object restriction given that the objective of the measures was not a manifestly anti-competitive objective.

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