On the 24 March 2020, the Office for Competition (the “OC”) published a statement in conjunction with the European Commission and the Competition authorities across all Member states (the “ECN”) on the application of European competition rules during the present COVID-19 crisis.
On competitior cooperation, it is recognised that, in the present circumstances, the competition authorities will not intervene against temporary measures of collaboration put in place in order to avoid a shortage of supply.
On pricing, products considered essential to protect the health of consumers in the current situation (e.g. face masks and sanitising gel) must remain available at competitive prices. The ECN considers for instance, that imposing maximum prices could prove useful to limit unjustified price increases at the distribution level.
The OC has warned however that it will not hesitate to take action against companies taking advantage of the current situation by setting up cartels or abusing of a dominant position.
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