Bundeskartellamt: focus on protecting competition in the digital economy

Price fixing for musical instruments, school satchels and entertainment electronics: The Federal Cartel Office imposed fines totaling around 105 million euros in 2021. The protection of competition in the digital economy will have priority for the Cartel Office in 2022.

The Federal Cartel Office imposed fines totaling around 105 million euros this year for illegal agreements. Eleven companies and eight people were affected, as the Bonn authority announced in its annual balance sheet. Among other things, it was about price fixing for musical instruments, school bags and entertainment electronics. However, sectors such as stainless steel production and steel forging were also affected.
The amount of the fines imposed was significantly lower than in previous years. In 2020 the total was 358 million and in 2019 even 848 million euros.

Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt emphasized: “The pandemic has slowed us down a little in cartel prosecution in the past two years. It is not easy to advance proceedings under such conditions that rely on searches of business and private premises or the examination of witnesses to preserve evidence.” In 2021, the authority carried out two searches – under strict hygiene regulations.

Cartels don’t die out

Mundt also said that the Cartel Office was ready to initiate further proceedings in the new year. “New evidence also shows us that cartels – unfortunately – are not going to die out.”

However, competition protection in the digital economy will also have priority for the Cartel Office in 2022. Mundt announced that the competition watchdogs want to quickly present the first results of the recently initiated proceedings against Amazon, Apple, Google and the Facebook parent company Meta in the new year.

The background: Since the beginning of the year, the authority has been able to act faster and more effectively against alleged anti-competitive practices by large digital corporations. They immediately initiated proceedings.

Source: com! professional by www.com-magazin.de.

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