Tech News: The European Commission Launched the Tool for Whistleblower; What We Know So Far

Posted: 03/20/17 05:02AM EDT
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The Protection of Whistleblowers at EU Level
A new tool is to make it easier for individuals to alert the Commission about secret cartels and other antitrust violations while maintaining their anonymity has been launched by the European Commission today.(Photo : euobservertv/YouTube Screenshot)

The European Commission (the executive arm of the EU) has launched a new initiative to encourage whistleblowers to step forward. A whistleblowing hotline including an email address, phone number, and encrypted web form will allow individuals to anonymously report price-fixing cartels and other anti-competitive practices.

As per Europa individuals can now help anonymously in the fight against cartels and other anti-competitive practices. These practices include agreeing on prices or procurement bids, keeping products off the market or unfairly excluding rivals and can cause immense damage to Europe's economy.

They can deny customers access to a wider choice of goods and services at reasonable prices, stifle innovation and put companies out of business.

The Commission said it previously relied on its leniency program for such tips, which allows businesses to report cartels they were involved in for a reduced fine. So far in 2017, the Commission has already fined firms involved in two cartels more than €200 million for working together to raise prices on items including air conditioning systems for cars.

In a Press Statement, Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy, said: "If people are concerned by business practices that they think are wrong, they can help put things right. Inside knowledge can be a powerful tool to help the Commission uncover cartels and other anti-competitive practices. With our new tool, it is possible to provide information, while maintaining anonymity."

Until now, most cartels have been detected through the Commission's leniency program, which allows businesses to report their own involvement in a cartel in exchange for a reduction of the fine imposed on them.

The new system increases the likelihood of detection and prosecution and so stands to further deter businesses from entering or remaining in cartels or carrying out other types of illegal anti-competitive behavior. It therefore complements and reinforces the effectiveness of the Commission's leniency program.



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