(CN) – A single cooperative meeting of business rivals is enough to trigger anti-competition laws, the European Court of Justice ruled. Five Dutch mobile phone companies – now known as T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, O2 and Telfort – were fined by Netherlands’ competition authority for a meeting the companies had in 2001.
At that meeting, officials of the five companies discussed the reduction of standard remunerations for post-paid subscriptions.
On appeal, the Dutch Court for Trade and Industry asked Europe’s highest court for a clarification of its non-competition laws.
The Court of Justice replied that even one meeting of rivals who discuss anything anti-competitive will run afoul of Community law.
That holds true in this case, the court ruled, “even though the practice has no direct effect on the price paid by end users.”