Brussels, 3 rd July 2009
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the special glass sector
The European Commission can confirm that on 4 March 2009 Commission officials inspected industrial premises in the special glass sector. Special glass products are used for optical and electronics applications, both commercial and industrial. The Commission has reason to believe that there may have been a violation in this sector of EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices (Article 81).
Surprise inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected cartels. The fact that the European Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The European Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
There is no strict deadline to complete cartel inquiries. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate and the exercise of the rights of defence.