Horizontal agreement (competition law) [De.: horizontalen Vereinbarung, Fr.: accord horizontal, Gr.: οριζόντια συμφωνία, Ro.: Acordul orizontal, It.: Accordo orizzontale] (See also: horizontal price fixing, horizontal market sharing, anti-competitive horizontal restraints, cartel) = Agreement between actual or potential competitors, operating at the same level of the production or distribution chain, in order to cooperate among themselves to provide goods and services to their customers. Horizontal agreements may restrict competition in particular where they involve price fixing or market sharing, or where the market power resulting from the horizontal co-operation causes negative market effects with respect to prices, output, innovation or the variety and quality of products offered to the consumer. Some horizontal agreements can be a means to share risk, save costs, pool know-how and launch innovation faster. In particular for small and medium-sized enterprises co-operation can be important means to adapt to the changing market place. For these economically positive reasons some agreements are legally exempted from possibly violating competition law due to the special regulations issued by the Commission – commonly referred to as “block exemptions” – which are automatically valid and enforceable under EU law (unless they involve an abuse of dominance under Article 102 TFEU).

Useful links

Legislation Article 101 TFEU [All official EU languages] Communication from the Commission — Notice on agreements of minor importance which do not appreciably restrict competition under Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (De Minimis Notice) OJ C 291, 30.8.2014, p. 1–4 [All official EU languages] Communication from the Commission — Guidelines on the applicability of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to horizontal co-operation agreements Text with EEA relevance, OJ C 11, 14.1.2011, p. 1–72 [All official EU languages] Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty, OJ L 001 , 04/01/2003 p. 1 – 25 [English]

Organisations and associations European Commission General Direction for Competition, Antitrust section European Competition Network (ECN) In House Competition Lawyers’ Association International League of Competition Law (LIDC) International Competition Network (ICN) Academic society for competition law (ASCOLA)

Case Law Judgment of the Court, ACF Chemiefarma NV v Commission of the European Communities, Case 41-69, 1970 Judgment of the Court of First Instance (First Chamber), Tréfilunion SA v Commission of the European Communities, Case T-148/89, 1995– Commission, Decision, Case IV/30.863 - BPCL/ICI, 1984 Order of the Court of First Instance (First Chamber), DSM NV v Commission of the European Communities, Case T-8/89 REV, 1992 Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber), Case C-8/08, T-Mobile Netherlands BV and Others v the Netherland’s competition authority, 2009 Judgment of the Court (Sixth Chamber), Viho Europe BV v Commission of the European Communities, Case C-73/95, 1996

Online Publications, P., Kassim, H., 2010, Myths and Myth‐Making in the European Union: The Institutionalization and Interpretation of EU Competition Policy, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 48, n°1, pp. 111-132 Di Federico, G., Manzini, P., 2004, A law and economics approach to the new European antitrust enforcing rules, Erasmus Law and Economics Review, vol. 1, p. 143 Jorde, T. M., & Teece, D. J., 1993, Rule of reason analysis of horizontal arrangements: agreements designed to advance innovation and commercialize technology, Antitrust Law Journal, vol. 61, n°2, pp. 579-619– Kaplow, E., 2011, On the Meaning of Horizontal Agreements in Competition Law, California Law Review, vol. 99, issue 3, pp. 683-818 Lowe, P., 2003, Current issues of EU competition law: The new competition enforcement regime, Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, vol. 24, p. 567 - Wils, W. P., 2005, Is criminalization of EU competition law the answer?, World Competition, vol. 28, p. 117


Albors-Llorens, A., 2006, Horizontal agreements and concerted practices in EC competition law: Unlawful and legitimate contacts between competitors, The Antitrust Bulletin, vol. 51, n°4, pp. 837-876

Basedow, J., 2007, Private enforcement of EC Competition Law, Netherlands, Kluwer Law International

ECLF Working Group on Horizontal Agreements, 2010, Comments on the Draft Guidelines on the Applicability of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the

European Union to Horizontal Co-Operation Agreements, European Competition Journal, vol. 6, issue 2, pp. 507-540

Korah, V., Lianos, I., Siciliani, P., 2017, Competition Law, Text, Cases and Materials, (4th edition), United Kingdom, Hart Publishing

Kovacic, W. E., 1993, The identification and proof of horizontal agreements under the antitrust laws, The Antitrust Bulletin, vol. 38, p. 5

Van Bael, I., Bellis J.-F., 2010, Competition law of the European Community, Netherlands, Kluwer Law International

Wijckmans, F., Tuytschaever F., 2015, Horizontal agreements and cartels in EU competition law, United Kingdom, Oxford University Press

By Vasiliki Fasoula