Navigation and service


The tasks, activities and organisation of the Bundeskartellamt are primarily defined by the following legal provisions and notices.

National legislation and notices

The central legal basis for the Bundeskartellamt's work is the German Act against Restraints of Competition (Competition Act, GWB). The object to be protected by the GWB is competition in the Federal Republic of Germany, which is to be defended against any and all restraints, irrespective of whether these were caused within or outside the country. The GWB is applicable to all companies. It does however contain certain special provisions for some sectors e.g. agriculture.

The GWB entered into force on 1 January 1958. It has been amended nine times since then. The Second Amendment of 1973 is of particular importance under the aspects of competition policy due to the introduction of merger control Since 1 January 1999, the GWB also protects tenderers in the award of public contracts.

Changes under the 8th Amendment of the GWB entered into force in mid-2013. In the area of merger control major amendments were made to align the act with European law and its area of application was extended to statutory health insurance funds. In the area of cartel prosecution, new regulations permit more efficient procedures relating to the liability of parent companies for their subsidiaries and to legal succession in the event of restructuring measures performed within a group.

European legislation

The aim of the European Union is to establish a Common Market which allows for, among other things, the free movement of goods between the Member States. This aim is undermined if companies replace the dismantled national trade barriers with private market-sharing agreements and other restrictive practices.

To prevent this happening and at the same time to create uniform conditions for companies, competition rules to combat cartels (Art. 101 TFEU) and monitor abusive practices (Art. 102 TFEU) have been incorporated into the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). These were complemented by various regulations, notices and recommendations of the European Council and the European Commission.

Furthermore, the EC Merger Regulation (ECMR) was introduced at European level in 1990 as an instrument for examining concentrations. The European Commission has exclusive competence for applying the EMR.

With the introduction of Regulation (EC) No. 1/2003 in May 2004 the Bundeskartellamt, as well as the other EU competition authorities, has been granted far-reaching competencies to apply Art. 101 TFEU and Art. 102 TFEU in the prosecution of cartels and abuse control. The Bundeskartellamt applies these European rules in addition to the provisions of the GWB if the anti-competitive practices are likely to affect trade between the Member States. The rules in the GWB and the TFEU are essentially identical.

Reference sources for GWB amendments, old versions of the GWB and legislative materials

Parliamentary papers from the 16th legislative period onward are available at the Paliamentary Material Information System, DIP; parliamentary papers dating back to the 8th – 15th legislative periods are available here (in German). Parliamentary papers and related information from the parliaments of the German federal states (Länder) are also available from the Parlamentsspiegel (joint integrated parliamentary information system of the parliaments of the German federal states, German language).

  • Price abuse amendment (2007)
    BGBl. [Federal Gazette] I 2007, p. 2966
    Bundestag Drucksache 16/5847 [parliamentary paper]
    Bill on the prevention of price abuse in the areas of energy supply and food trade” (Federal Government bill)
    Bundestag Drucksache 16/7156
    Recommendation and Report by the Committee on Economics and Technology (9th committee) on the Federal Government’s bill)
    Drucksache 16/5847 –
    Bundesrat Drucksache 278/07 (including corrigendum of Bundesrat Drucksache 278/07)
    Bill on the prevention of price abuse in the areas of energy supply and food trade (Federal Government Bill)
  • Seventh Amendment to the GWB (2005)
    BGBl. I 2005, p. 2114
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 15/5049
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 15/3640
    Deutscher Bundestag Ausschussdrucksache 15(9)1333
  • Sixth Amendment to the GWB (1998)
    BGBl. I 1998, p. 2546
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 13/9720
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 13/10633
  • Fifth Amendment to the GWB (1989)
    BGBl. I 1990, p. 235
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 11/4610
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 123/89
  • Fourth Amendment to the GWB (1980)
    BGBl. I 1980, p. 1761
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 8/2136
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 8/3690
    Bundesrat Drucksache 231/78
  • Third Amendment to the GWB (1976)
    BGBl. I 1976, p. 1697
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 7/2954
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 593/74
  • Second Amendment to the GWB (1973)
    BGBl. I 1974, p. 869
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 7/76
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 449/73
  • First Amendment to the GWB (1965)
    BGBl. I 1966, p. 37
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 4/617
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 4/2337
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 4/2564
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 4/3533
  • Original version of the GWB (1958)
    BGBl. I, 1957, p. 1081
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 2/1158
    Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 2/3644

The Bundeskartellamt undertakes no guarantee that the content of the legal provisions linked to its website is up-to-date.