Select Committee on European Union Fourth Report


APPENDIX 3


ARTICLES 81-85 OF THE EC TREATY

Article 81 (ex Article 85)

  1.  The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:

    (a)  directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

    (b)  limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;

    (c)  share markets or sources of supply;

    (d)  apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

    (e)  make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

  2.  Any agreements or decisions prohibited pursuant to this Article shall be automatically void.

  3.  The provisions of paragraph 1 may, however, be declared inapplicable in the case of:

    —  any agreement or category of agreements between undertakings;

    —  any decision or category of decisions by associations of undertakings;

    —  any concerted practice or category of concerted practices, which contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit, and which does not:

    (a)  impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of these objectives;

    (b)  afford such undertakings the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products in question.

Article 82 (ex Article 86)

  Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market insofar as it may affect trade between Member States.

  Such abuse may, in particular, consist in:

    (a)  directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions;

    (b)  limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers;

    (c)  applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

    (d)  making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

Article 83 (ex Article 87)

  1.  The appropriate regulations or directives to give effect to the principles set out in Articles 81 and 82 shall be laid down by the Council, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament.

  2.  The regulations or directives referred to in paragraph 1 shall be designed in particular:

    (a)  to ensure compliance with the prohibitions laid down in Article 81(1) and in Article 82 by making provision for fines and periodic penalty payments;

    (b)  to lay down detailed rules for the application of Article 81(3), taking into account the need to ensure effective supervision on the one hand, and to simplify administration to the greatest possible extent on the other;

    (c)  to define, if need be, in the various branches of the economy, the scope of the provisions of Articles 81 and 82;

    (d)  to define the respective functions of the Commission and of the Court of Justice in applying the provisions laid down in this paragraph;

    (e)  to determine the relationship between national laws and the provisions contained in this Section or adopted pursuant to this Article.

Article 84 (ex Article 88)

  Until the entry into force of the provisions adopted in pursuance of Article 83, the authorities in Member States shall rule on the admissibility of agreements, decisions and concerted practices and on abuse of a dominant position in the common market in accordance with the law of their country and with the provisions of Article 81, in particular paragraph 3, and of Article 82.

Article 85 (ex Article 89)

  1.  Without prejudice to Article 84, the Commission shall ensure the application of the priciples laid down in Articles 81 and 82. On application by a Member State or on its own initiative, and in cooperation with the competent authorities in the Member States, who shall give it their assistance, the Commission shall investigate cases of suspected infringement of these principles. If it finds that there has been an infringement, it shall propose appropriate measures to bring it to an end.

  2.  If the infringement is not brought to an end, the Commission shall record such infringement of the principles in a reasoned decision. The Commission may publish its decision and authorise Member States to take the measures, the conditions and details of which it shall determine, needed to remedy the situation.




 
previous page contents

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2000