COMPETITION • EUROPEAN LAW • PROCEDURE
Competition compliance programs are measures taken internally by an undertaking to prevent future infringements of competition law by members of its staff. After initially agreeing to take account of the adoption of such programs as a mitigating circumstance, the EU competition authorities now consider that such programs cannot affect the reality of the infringement found and no longer grant a reduction of a fine on this basis, regardless of whether the program was adopted after the Commission’s decision or before the infringement was implemented. In the latter case, the EU courts consider that the fact that an infringement was committed despite the measures taken to prevent it proves that those measures were not effective. Their adoption cannot therefore justify the imposition of a reduced penalty. Conversely, it cannot, in the Commission’s view, constitute an aggravating circumstance of the infringement.