Dutch government proposes increase of maximum competition fines. In a letter to the Dutch parliament, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs has proposed an increase of the fining maxima for various regulatory offences, including cartels, in order to strengthen their deterrent effect. The Minister proposes the following changes: (i) the maximum fines for cartels will be increased from 10 percent of the offender’s annual turnover to 10 percent of its turnover calculated over the duration of the infringement, maximized to four years; (ii) maximum fines for various other offences (e.g. refusal to cooperate) are doubled from 1 percent of annual turnover to 2 percent; (iii) in case of repeated offences, the limits are doubled. The minister has indicated that after public consultation and coordination with the European Commission, he intends to submit the draft law to parliament by autumn 2014. We consider the proposal as problematic from an EU perspective, as Dutch law would systematically deviate from EU competition law, as well as regimes in neighbouring countries.

Sophie Gilliam, Stijn de Zwart