Horizontal Guidelines (Communication)
Under horizontal agreements, undertakings co-operate as competitors at the same level in the value-added chain. The Guidelines are intended to make it easier for undertakings to assess themselves whether or not their intended horizontal agreements infringe the ban on cartels of Art. 101(1) TFEU and whether an exemption applies. They contain general and agreement-specific explanations of the assessment of horizontal agreements for goods and services. The revised version contains also contains explanations on “information exchange” between undertakings which are relevant in terms of competition law.
The Guidelines’ more detailed information and the newly added explanations on information exchange and standard terms provides undertakings with better conditions for being able to self-assess the conformity of horizontal agreements with competition law and thus fosters competition. Regarding the assessment criteria for “integrated co-operation” and the call for “good faith disclosure” of intellectual property rights, the Guidelines lack clarity and accurate wording. The statements on the “abuse of a dominant position within the internal market” (Art. 102 TFEU) are misplaced in “Guidelines for the applicability of Article 101”.