European Commission requests for information
Produced in partnership with Dentons
European Commission requests for information

The following Competition practice note Produced in partnership with Dentons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • European Commission requests for information
  • Two types of request for information (RFI)
  • Wide discretion of the Commission to request information
  • Penalties
  • Limit to the Commission’s power to request information: requirement of necessity
  • General principles of EU law and rights of defence
  • Interplay between RFIs and the Leniency Notice

The European Commission (Commission) has been granted broad investigative powers in order to enforce EU competition rules and prosecute antitrust violations, including cartels. Among others, the Commission has the power to request undertakings (and associations of undertakings) to 'provide all necessary information'.

Two types of request for information (RFI)

Article 18 of Regulation 1/2003 provides for two types of request for information (RFI), namely:

  1. simple RFIs, which are not mandatory where recipients are under no obligation to provide the requested information; if recipients decide to answer, they may leave certain questions blank. However, recipients cannot provide incorrect or misleading information. A simple RFI should:

    1. state the legal basis and purpose of the request

    2. specify what information, including documents containing such information, is requested

    3. set the time-limit to provide the information, and

    4. indicate the penalties for supplying incorrect or misleading information

  2. RFIs by decision, which are mandatory: recipients are under the obligation to provide all the requested information. A RFI by decision shall:

    1. state the legal basis and purpose of the request

    2. specify what information, including documents containing such information, is requested

    3. set the time-limit to provide the information

    4. set out the penalties for supplying incorrect or misleading information, or for not providing in time the information requested, and

    5. indicate the right to have the decision reviewed by the Court of Justice.

Wide discretion of the Commission to

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