The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission's investigation relates to alleged anti-competitive practices aimed at excluding competing rail passenger transport operators from the market.
The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the Austrian competition authority.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices. The fact that the 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 Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of parties to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
There is no legal deadline to inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the companies concerned co-operate and the exercise of the rights of defence.