According to IP/10/2, detailed explanations concerning how European Commission antitrust procedures work in practice have just been published by the Commission's Directorate General for Competition (DG Competition) and the Hearing Officers on the Europa website.
The goal is to further enhance the transparency and the predictability of Commission antitrust proceedings. The explanations are outlined in three documents, namely
1) Best Practices for antitrust proceedings,
2) Best Practices for the submission of economic evidence (both in antitrust and merger proceedings) and
3) Guidance on the role of the Hearing Officers in the context of antitrust proceedings.
The documents will make it easier for companies under investigation to understand how the investigation will proceed, what they can expect from the Commission and what the Commission will expect from them.
They will be applied by the Commission provisionally as from today, Jan. 6 2010, but stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the documents within 8 weeks with a view to adjusting them in the light of comments from interested parties.
Competition Commissioner N. Kroes commented:
"The Commission has consistently given high priority to due process and fairness in antitrust proceedings. These three documents provide companies with further certainty and transparency about the relationship between them and the Commission during an antitrust case. I warmly invite all stakeholders to provide us with their comments on how to yet further improve our practices."