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Competition Policy

Inability to pay

Article 23(2) of Regulation 1/2003 provides that the European Commission may impose fines on undertakings or association of undertakings when they infringe Article 101 TFEU.  However, the text of the Article, does allow the Commission some margin of discretion on whether to impose fines or not.

When an undertaking is found to have participated in a cartel, it risks being subject to a fine.  Should that fine be disproportionate to the relevant undertaking’s ability to pay, the undertaking in question can request that its economic and financial situation are taken into account by the Commission when calculating the fine.

Granting “inability to pay” is subject to very strict conditions. 

The application must be done formally by way of a standard questionnaire.