Article 101(1) TFEU—the prohibition on restrictive agreements

The following Competition practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Article 101(1) TFEU—the prohibition on restrictive agreements
  • Article 101(1) TFEU
  • Enforcement, self-assessment and consequences
  • The ‘undertaking’ concept
  • Economic activity
  • Non-economic activity
  • Association of undertakings
  • Non-profit, professional services and public bodies
  • Professional services
  • Public bodies
  • More...

Article 101(1) TFEU—the prohibition on restrictive agreements

STOP PRESS—On 10 May 2022, the Commission adopted a new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation 2022/720) (EU VBER). The new EU VBER replaces the previous Regulation on 1 June 2022. This Practice Note will be updated shortly to reflect the new laws.

A key proposition underpinning EU competition law is that competing companies should act independently on markets. In principle, rivalry and competition can be expected to ensure the greatest consumer welfare, the most efficient allocation of resources and, with respect to the EU single market project, help further overall market integration.

The European Commission (the Commission) and other regulators, including national competition authorities, are therefore wary of any arrangements which might dampen competition or reduce commercial uncertainty that would otherwise exist between competitors.

At the same time, there are often legitimate reasons why companies enter into agreements that contain provisions or obligations that risk restricting competition. In particular, this will be the case where arrangements are concluded in order to generate or promote beneficial effects (efficiencies) which, absent the restriction contained in the agreements, would not arise.

EU competition law policy attempts to strike a balance between ensuring the maintenance of effective competition (in particular, by prohibiting illegitimate collusion) and the realisation of benefits derived and often only achievable through cooperation.

Article 101 TFEU provides the legal framework for achieving such

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