Datenbank zum deutschen und europäischen Wirtschaftsrecht



Private Enforcement of European Competition and State Aid Law: Current Challenges and the Way Forward
22 and 23 November 2018 – Faculty of Law, Augsburg University

The EU Member States are currently finishing the implementation of the so-called “Damages Directive” (Directive 2014/104/EU) which covers important issues – but not all areas – of private enforcement of competition law. Furthermore, the Damages Directive only provides full harmonisation in relation to selected issues. The legal framework is therefore not completely harmonised in Europe. In view of this new legal framework, the “law in action” for the enforcement of the European competition rules in various Member States will be examined, thereby focusing on damages claims against cartels, which is currently the most common form of private law enforcement.
In view of limited administrative capacities on the European level, the trend towards decentralizing the review of state aid systems and the structural deficit of enforcing state aid law by national authorities, the importance of private enforcement for an effective enforcement of EU state aid law has been continuously stressed, and also the number of cases before national courts has increased. Nonetheless, there is room for improvement both in terms of numbers and its efficiency. The main challenge results from the fact that private enforcement, despite its importance, has not been harmonised. Hence, the obligations resulting from EU law have to be enforced according to the rules of national law, which diverge greatly and do not provide for specific remedies. Against this background, a first step to strengthening private enforcement of state aid law is to analyse the mechanisms of enforcement available within the national legal orders. This allows identifying not only key obstacles to private enforcement in the relevant procedural and substantive rules but also best practices. On this basis and with regard to the experiences gained in the area of competition law, the need for a harmonisation on the EU level will be explored, notably with regard to claims for damages which form the basis of the recently adopted Damages Directive 2014/104/EU in competition law.

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