Without prejudice to the right of economic operators to adapt themselves intelligently, but independently, to the existing or anticipated conduct of their competitors (see judgments in Suiker Unie and Others v Commission, 40/73 to 48/73, 50/73, 54/73 to 56/73, 111/73, 113/73 and 114/73, EU:C:1975:174, paragraph 174; Ahlström Osakeyhtiö and Others v Commission, C‑89/85, C‑104/85, C‑114/85, C‑116/85, C‑117/85 and C‑125/85 to C‑129/85, EU:C:1993:120, paragraph 71; and Asnef-Equifax and Administración del Estado, C‑238/05, EU:C:2006:734, paragraph 53 and the case-law cited), Article [101 TFEU] catches all forms of cooperation and of collusion between undertakings, including by means of a collective structure or a common body, such as an association, which are calculated to produce the results which that provision aims to suppress (see, to that effect, judgments in Nederlandse Vereniging voor de fruit en groentenimporthandel and Frubo v Commission, 71/74, EU:C:1975:61, paragraph 30; van Landewyck and Others v Commission, 209/78 to 215/78 and 218/78, EU:C:1980:248, paragraph 88; and Eurofer v Commission, C‑179/99 P, EU:C:2003:525, paragraph 23).
According to the case-law on agreements on the exchange of information, such agreements are incompatible with the rules on competition if they reduce or remove the degree of uncertainty as to the operation of the market in question with the result that competition between undertakings is restricted (John Deere v Commission, paragraph 90, and Case C-194/99 P Thyssen Stahl v Commission  ECR I-10821, paragraph 81).In effect, it is inherent in the Treaty provisions on competition that every economic operator must determine autonomously the policy which it intends to pursue on the common market. Thus, according to that case-law, such a requirement of autonomy precludes any direct or indirect contact between economic operators of such a kind as either to influence the conduct on the market of an actual or potential competitor or to reveal to such a competitor the conduct which an operator has decided to follow itself or contemplates adopting on the market, where the object or effect of those contacts is to give rise to conditions of competition which do not correspond to the normal conditions of the market in question, taking into account the nature of the products or the services provided, the size and number of the undertakings and also the volume of the market (see Commission v Anic Partecipazioni, paragraphs 116 and 117, as well as the case-law cited).
This information will be held on a confidential basis, with responses sent to and collated by one named solicitor member of the LCCSA committee who will not disclose the names of the firms submitting information to anyone including officers and any other committee members of the LCCSA unless and until that firm’s consent has been obtained for their name to be released to the LCCSA officers and committee.
The solicitor holding the information (who is from a firm not submitting any tender) would be able to provide to the President and the Vice President of the LCCSA committee the number of responses received, the numbers bidding, the numbers not bidding, the numbers indicating a willingness to refuse an offer if made or withdrawing a bid and the areas involved.
|Photograph: Sean Smith for the Guardian
The applicability of the exemption provided for in Article [101(3) TFEU is subject to the four cumulative conditions laid down in that provision. First, the arrangement concerned must contribute to improving the production or distribution of the goods or services in question, or to promoting technical or economic progress; secondly, consumers must be allowed a fair share of the resulting benefit; thirdly, it must not impose any non-essential restrictions on the participating undertakings; and, fourthly, it must not afford them the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products or services in question (see, to that effect, Joined Cases 43/82 and 63/82 VBVB and VBBB v Commission  ECR 19, paragraph 61, as well as Remia and Others v Commission, paragraph 38).
neither the freedom of expression nor the freedom of assembly ... appears to be absolute but must be viewed in relation to its social purpose. Consequently, the exercise of those rights may be restricted, provided that the restrictions in fact correspond to objectives of general interest and do not, taking account of the aim of the restrictions, constitute disproportionate and unacceptable interference, impairing the very substance of the rights guaranteed (see, to that effect, Case C-62/90 Commission v Germany  ECR I-2575, paragraph 23, and Case C-404/92 P X v Commission  ECR I-4737, paragraph 18).In those circumstances, the interests involved must be weighed having regard to all the circumstances of the case in order to determine whether a fair balance was struck between those interests.The competent authorities enjoy a wide margin of discretion in that regard. Nevertheless, it is necessary to determine whether the restrictions placed upon intra-Community trade are proportionate in the light of the legitimate objective pursued, namely, in the present case, the protection of fundamental rights.