European Law Review
2019, Vol 44, p 196
Abstract: Despite the importance of the “agreement” concept under art.101(1) TFEU, the concept remains underdeveloped by courts and commentators. This article reconstructs the “agreement” concept based on theories of legal interpretation and contract as well as comparative law insights. It argues, based on a theoretical framework for EU Treaty interpretation and a broad, objective conception of an antitrust agreement, that the objectivity and correspondence requirements for contractual agreements have continuing relevance, while the precision requirement should be appropriately relaxed, for antitrust agreements. Drawing on insights from US antitrust jurisprudence, it advances three concrete proposals emerging from the in-depth comparison between antitrust and contractual agreements, namely that the art.101(1) “agreement” concept embraces tacit collusion, encompasses concerted practices and decisions of associations, and is independent of subjective intentions.