C. Trends in the EU
- The European Commission (EC) and competition authorities of the Member States of the European Union have also continued to aggressively investigate and fine international cartels that have targeted European markets.
- In 2008, the EC has imposed fines of over €2 billion for illegal cartel activity. This includes fines of over €1.3 billion on various car glass producers for their role in a market sharing cartel and fines of over €646 million on various wax producers for their role in a price fixing and market sharing cartel.
- The EC also introduced a new settlement procedure to simplify the procedure for companies to settle investigations. The EC anticipates that this will permit it to deal more quickly with cartel cases.
- There was also significant activity at the national level.
(a) In France, the French competition authority imposed record fines of over €575 million on 11 steel trading companies for price fixing and market sharing. This was also the first time that the French competition authority reduced a fine of a cartel member pursuant to its leniency program as a result of the company's cooperation in the investigation.
(b) In the United Kingdom, the Office of Fair Trading successfully reached a settlement with six companies for fixing the price of cigarettes whereby these companies agreed to pay £132 million.