Versita

THE EU PRACTICE OF HORIZONTAL AGREEMENT ASSESSMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE OF PROVIDING DE MINIMIS EXEMPTION

Andrius Puksas
Keywords: Horizontal agreement, de minimis exception, impact on competition, hardcore restraints ,

Abstract

This article analyses the practice of horizontal agreement assessment in accordance with its impact on competition. The following research is based on analysis of scientific literature, current provisions of European Union and national legal acts, as well as official positions of the European Commission (hereinafter – EC) and national authorities.
The current inconsistent practice of horizontal agreement assessment within the EU creates space for multiple interpretations. It is important to emphasize that the assessment rules provided in legal acts are, by their nature, only guidelines.
More flexibility, but also more obscurity, in the assessment process bring with it the possibility for institutions to independently set priorities (for instance ‘priority rule’ in Lithuanian legislation, i.e. in the Articles 18.2.3. and 24.2.8 of the Law on Competition of the Republic of Lithuania, Official Gazette, 2012, no. 42-2041). The article analyses current regulation of horizontal agreement assessments in accordance with minor impact on competition.