Article 101(1) TFEU prohibits anti-competitive agreements or arrangements (so-called “concerted practices”) between two or more “undertakings” which may affect trade between EU Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition.
Pursuant to Article 101(3) TFEU, certain cooperation agreements may be exempt from the prohibition of Article 101(1) where their pro-competitive effects outweigh any restrictions of competition they bring about e.g. joint R&D agreements or distribution agreements. An agreement can benefit from such an exemption either on an individual basis (i.e. following an assessment of the specific agreement in question) or automatically (because its provisions are of a type described in a “block exemption regulation”).
Agreements or arrangements which infringe Article 101(1) TFEU are automatically void. Parties Participating in such anti-competitive agreements or arrangements may be fined up to 10% of their world wide group turnover and may be sued for damages by any customers and /or consumers who consider they have suffered loss as a consequence of the infringing agreement or behavior.