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Λογότυπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής
Competition Policy

Requests for information or for an opinion - Article 15(1)

Requests for information

A national court may ask the Commission for information it holds, such as documents in its possession and information of a procedural nature.

The Commission will endeavour to provide the national court with the requested information within one month from the date it receives the request.

Requests for information or opinion vs. preliminary rulings (Article 267 TFEU)

The right of a national court to ask the Commission for an opinion (Article 15(1) of Regulation 1/2003) does not prejudice the possibility or the obligation of the national court to ask the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU.

The authoritative interpretation of EU law by the Court of Justice is binding on the national court, in contrast to the non-binding character of Commission opinions.

A preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice concerns the interpretation of the law of the European Union and the validity of acts of secondary legislation, whereas a national court may ask the Commission for its opinion pursuant to Article 15(1) of Regulation 1/2003 on economic, factual and legal matters.

 

Requests for an opinion

A national court may ask the Commission for its opinion on economic, factual and legal matters concerning the application of EU competition rules.

To ensure that the Commission has a clear understanding of the factual and legal context of the proceedings, the request for an opinion should:

  • include a brief account of the subject-matter of the dispute and the relevant findings of fact, or, at least, set out the factual situation on which the question referred is based,
  • explain the reasons which prompted the national court to request an opinion; and
  • include, where appropriate, a summary of the main arguments of the parties.

It is recommended to:

  • keep requests for an opinion as short as possible and to use simple, clear and concise language, in view of the frequent need for the Commission to translate them.
  • number the points or paragraphs of the request for an opinion.
  • include the question(s) of the request in a clearly identified section.

The Commission will endeavour to provide the national court with the requested opinion within four months from the date it receives the request. Where the Commission has requested the national court for further information in order to enable it to formulate its opinion, that period starts to run from the moment that it receives the additional information.

 

Opinions issued

The opinions are sorted by year in which the opinion was issued.

The opinions published below are those for which the national court has granted permission for publication.

2019

Case National CourtCommission opinionNational Court
judgment
Summary & background
Selective distribution network for motor vehicles in BulgariaSupreme Administrative Court, Sofia (Bulgaria)03/12/2019[case still pending]Article 101 TFEU – Vertical agreements– Effect on trade – concept of ‘appreciability’- calculation of the supplier’s turnover in the case of several agreements covering different activities
SABAMCourt of Appeal, Brussels (Belgium)

13/8/2019

nl

[case still pending]Article 102 TFEU – Abuse of a dominant position – Concept of 'unfair prices' – Royalties levied by a copyright management body
 

2017

Case National CourtCommission opinionNational Court
judgment
Summary & background
Selective distribution of shoesCommercial Court (Belgium), Antwerp29/11/2017[case still pending]Selective distribution – Article 101 TFEU – Article 102 TFEU – market definition – block exemption  
Tax litigationFirst Instance Court, Germany

27/10/2017

de

22.12.2017

de

Tax deductibility of cartel fines – principle of effectiveness – nature of fines: taking away advantages of infringement and/or punishment – 2006 - Guidelines on the method of setting fines imposed pursuant to Article 23(2)(a) of Regulation No 1/2003 – Case COMP/39092 - Bathroom Fittings and Fixtures
 

2015

Case National CourtCommission opinionNational Court
judgment
Summary & background
NovartisHungarian Court, Budapest (Fővárosi Közigazgatási és Munkaügyi Bíróság)

18/11/2015

hu

26/01/2016

hu

Scope of the burden of proof – exchange of information– Article 101 TFEU –restriction by effect- evaluation of the appreciable restrictive effects - actual or potential effects – Horizontal Guidelines
Air transport sectorSupreme Court (LV)22/12/2015Proceedings closed without judgmentAbuse of a dominant position -discrimination – tariff differentiation – State Aid - anticompetitive effects
Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd v MasterCard Incorporated and OthersFirst Instance Court (UK), London

29/10/2015

en

14/07/2016

en

Disclosure of documents obtained by parties through access to file – ongoing Commission's investigations – protection of confidential information – interests of third parties

Summary

Romanian Waste CollectionAppeal Court (Romania, Bucharest)06/07/2015[case still pending]Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive – Buy-Back Campaigns – electro-domestic equipment – association of undertakings – restriction by object and restriction by effect – price fixing – definition of the relevant market
 

2014

CaseNational CourtCommission opinionNational Court
judgment
Summary & background
Secretary of State and others v. ServierFirst Instance Court (UK), London22/12/2014
en
12/03/2015
en

disclosure of confidential version Commission decision – confidentiality ring – protection of business secrets and other confidential information – interests of third parties – Articles 7 and 8 Charter on Fundamental Rights – Article 339 TFEU –  Article 28(2) Regulation 1/2003 – Article 15(4) Regulation 773/2004 – Postbank

Summary

Mobile telephony sectorCourt of Appeal (France), Paris

01/12/2014
en

19/05/2016
en
Abuse of a dominant position -discrimination  –  tariff differentiation –  sectoral regulation -  anticompetitive effects

Payment systems

First Instance Court (Belgium), Brussels05/06/2014

[case still pending]

payment systems – certification agreement – certification procedure – compatibility with Article 101 TFEU – individual exemption under Article 101(3)
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc and Others / MasterCard Incorporated and OthersHigh Court of Justice (UK)05/05/2014
en
30/01/2017
en

Disclosure of documents created in the course of the investigation - confidential version of Commission decision – principles established in Pfleiderer case – protection of confidential information

Summary

 

2013

CaseNational CourtCommission opinionNational Court judgmentSummary & background

Spanish Fuel Stations

Commercial Court (Spain), Madrid07/10/2013[case still pending]Decision COMP/38348/REPSOL – Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 – compliance with commitments – indirect fixing of resale price – non-compete clause – Vertical Block Exemption Regulation
 

2012

CaseNational CourtCommission opinionNational Court judgmentSummary & background
Kapitol S.A. v Magyar TelekomAppeal Court (Belgium), Brussels07/08/2012
fr
13/11/2014
fr

Abuse of a dominant position; refusal to supply; database; universal service; national legislation

Summary