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In accordance with the European School, one should investigate whether agreements actually restrict competition under Article 101. If the economic analysis proves that there exists no such restriction, the agreement does not infringe EU competition law at all and is valid.

In case a restriction of competition can be found, the agreement may qualify for a block exemption or an individual exemption. Companies need to self-assess with the support of economic experts as to whether their agreement would qualify for such an exemption.  

Some agreements, such as price cartels, restrict competition per se. In such a case, an exemption is possible only if the pro-competitive aspects outweigh the restriction of competition. In this respect, the economic effects-based analysis determines the legal qualification of the agreement.

In the following EE&MC contributions related to agreements/ cartels in the tradition of the European School are available.

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