29 March 2021

The deadline for implementing the ECN Plus Directive (directive 2019/1) was on 4 February 2021. By this date all member states should bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive. Get an overview of the new regulation with a Danish perspective.

The ECN Plus Directive

The ECN Plus Directive (directive 2019/1) was adopted in December 2018 and entails total harmonization of several parts of competition law enforcement with the aim of strengthening the enforcement efforts nationally.

Need for compliance review?

The deadline for implementing the ECN Plus Directive was on 4 February 2021, which means that all EU member states must comply with the regulation in the directive from now on.

The new regulation will entail changes of the authorities’ dawn raid procedures and the extent of parental liability in many EU member states, which makes it is a good opportunity to review compliance programmes and guidelines for dawn raids.

The national implementation in Denmark

In Denmark, the implementation of the directive has led to a comprehensive change of the Danish Competition Act, which entered into force on 4 March 2021, “only” a month after the implementation deadline. The necessary changes in Danish legislation give the Danish competition authority several new opportunities to enforce and sanction violation of the competition rules.

The most important changes are:

  • A new civil law fine system. The fine system was previously part of the criminal procedural system.
  • An introduction of parent companies’ liability for subsidiaries’ fines. This entails parental liability, when exercising a controlling interest in the subsidiary and a full alignment with EU case law. Trade associations are obliged to collect contributions to the payment of fines from their members, if the association is unable to pay the fine. A similar obligation was not part of the previously Danish Competition Act.
  • The Danish competition authority is given an extended access to conduct investigations on suspicion of violations of competition rules, e.g. through dawn raids and access to call representatives of an undertaking in for interviews during an investigation.

By Andreas Christensen and Marie LøvbjergHorten, Denmark