Saturday

21st Sep 2019

EU hits truck firms with record €3bn fine

  • "The cheapest thing of course is not to participate in a cartel," EU competition commissioner Vestager said. (Photo: EUobserver)

The EU's antitrust chief handed down a record €3 billion fine on Tuesday (19 July) on truck makers in penalties for colluding in an illegal cartel for over 14 years to fix prices and passing on the costs of emission rules.

The €2.93 billion fine will hit major European truck making companies, as the EU Commission has found that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke European antitrust rules.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Scania is not covered by the decision, the investigation will go on in their case.

MAN was not fined as it was the company that revealed the existence of the cartel to the commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager told press on Tuesday: "The case concerns a very large market, and continued for a very long time.

"It pays off to denounce a cartel and cooperate with the commission. The cheapest thing of course is not to participate in a cartel."

Companies have three month to pay the fine, which will go to the EU budget and reduce member states contributions to the coffers.

Vestager said nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other.

She said managers of the companies got together in 1997 in a hotel in Brussels and agreed on cooperating.

They discussed their envisaged gross list price increases for medium and heavy trucks, which were the basis for the prices in the industry. They also agreed to set a timetable for the introduction of technologies of reduction of harmful emissions.

The commission has been investigating several European truck makers since 2011 over suspicions they fixed prices and worked together on when to implement new emissions control technologies.

In 2012, EU investigators raided the offices of several companies suspected of participating in the price-fixing scheme.

The commission charged truck makers officially in 2014 for breaching the EU's antitrust rules by creating a cartel.

The commission can impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s global revenue.

The truck makers would also have to pay for damages filed by private companies, for instance haulage companies.

The largest fine by the EU commission so far has been handed down in 2012 with €1.41 billion against electronics companies for manipulating prices of television and computer tubes.

EU confronts France and Germany on trucking laws

French and German laws require foreign drivers to be paid the local minnimum wage if the drive through the country. The EU Commission launched probes, saying it hampers the free movement of goods and services.

EU files new antitrust case against Google

Competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has added concerns over Google's advertising service to the pile of EU antitrust charges against the company.

Hungary tops EU anti-fraud investigation list

In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency said it concluded nine investigations into Hungary and found irregularities in seven cases. In total, the agency recommended the recovery of €371m EU-wide.

Exclusive

Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

A European financial regulatory body set up after the financial crisis is at loggerheads with the European Commission over whether to carry out a transparency review of certain financial products. The reason: Brexit.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us