The tasks, activities and organisation of the Bundeskartellamt are primarily defined by the following legal provisions and notices.
- National legislation and notices
- European legislation
- Reference sources for GWB amendments, old versions of the GWB and legislative materials
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.
- Act against Restraints of Competition (Competition Act, GWB) - Last amended by Article 10(9) of the Act of 30 October 2017 -
- Regulation on the administrative charges imposed by competition authorities of 16 November 1970 (Federal Gazette, BGBl. I 1970, p. 1535), German version
- Guidelines for the setting of fines of 25 June 2013
- Leniency Programme (Notice no. 9/2006 on the immunity from and reduction of fines in cartel cases of 7 March 2006)
- Best practices for expert economic opinions of 20 October 2010
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.
- Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, consolidated version, Official Journal No. C 326 of 20 October 2012, p. 88 et seqq.) +
- Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, previous version, replaced by Articles 101, 102 TFEU (EC-Treaty, consolidated version, Official Journal No. C 321 E/37 of 29 December 2006, p. 73 et seqq.)
- 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
- Council Regulation (EC) No. 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (EC Merger Control Regulation, ECMR)
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.