The European Commission can confirm that on 28 June 2016 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in the sector of rail passenger transport in several Member States.
The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have entered into anti-competitive agreements aiming to shut out competing rail passenger transport operators from the market, in breach of EU antitrust rules (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in investigating 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. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
There is no legal deadline to complete 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.