Exceptions to such price agreements are rare. The Commission also found that Article 81, paragraph 1 (ex-Article 85, paragraph 1) (EC) had not prevented book sellers from increasing their market share by selling books below the price set by their publishers and by replicating to consumers the benefits of a flexible pricing system, applying Article 81, paragraph 1 (ex-Article 85, paragraph 1, EC) and failing to meet any of the conditions set out in Article 81, paragraph 3( (ex-Article 85, paragraph 3), EC. In particular, the Commission found that the collective and cross-border nature of the agreement was not essential to improving the distribution of the books in question. For many years, the risk of participants cheating was considered the greatest threat to a cartel. However, a review of the above legislation and practice concludes that the Commission is as strict as possible with respect to horizontal agreements and bare agreements and remains the most serious categories of cartel problems. By adopting its communication on cooperation, the Commission has launched new avenues to move companies forward and to give details of their cartel activities and abuse of dominant position. The most recent development is the creation of a specialized agreements agency within DG IV. Pricing can take many forms. The essential principle is that any agreement or agreement with the purpose or effect of setting prices is prohibited. Article 81, paragraph 1 (ex-Article 85, paragraph 1, EC) prohibits any agreement affecting prices, such as discounts, margins, rebates and credit conditions. The European Court of Justice has adopted a timely interpretation in ICI Limited/COMMISSION (14): horizontal competition restrictions and naked agreements affecting trade between Member States are generally prohibited by Article 81, paragraph 1 (ex-Article 85, paragraph 1) (EC) and can only benefit from an exceptional exemption under Article 81, paragraph 3 (ex-article 85, paragraph 3).
In general, the Commission (21) will only be able to meet the requirements of Article 81, paragraph 3 (ex-Article 85, paragraph 3), CE if the agreement fulfils the following conditions: horizontal agreements differ from vertical agreements between companies of different commercial or industrial levels, such as. B major retailers and retailers. Parallel market behaviour is an example of a controversial area of evidence in cartel cases. The controversy is whether, in a given case, evidence that several market producers acted in the same manner leads to the conclusion that some kind of agreement or consultation took place between them and, if so, how strong that conclusion is. Recent cases are Cewal (4) where agreements have been reached between maritime conferences where they would not compete “as foreigners in their respective fields of activity”. The Commission has designated these agreements as a division of europe`s Atlantic coast into several separate regions of one or more Member States. The decision was confirmed in the Belgian Maritime Company Transport S.A./EG Commission (5). In most cases where horizontal agreements and naked cartels are involved, there will be no clear evidence of the “smoke-full room”.