No. 75: Prohibition of Cartels in the Construction Sector; Interaction of EU Competition and Public Procurement Law


  • Anđelko Radoš
Publish Date:
April 6, 2023
Publication Title:
European Union [EU] Law Working Papers
Stanford Law School
Working Paper
  • Anđelko Radoš, Prohibition of Cartels in the Construction Sector; Interaction of EU Competition and Public Procurement Law, EU Law Working Papers No. 75, Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (2023).
Related Organization(s):


The construction industry, which accounts for the largest portion of the population’s total employment as well as for a significant part of the gross domestic product, is one of the economic cornerstones of practically all industrialized countries in Europe and in the rest of the developed world. However, as such, this industry, due to its great importance and the amount of capital that circulates within it, also represents a very fertile environment for the emergence and maintenance of behavior that represents a violation of the legal rules of market competition. Such violations manifest themselves in the creation of cartels whose aim is to prevent new competitors from entering the market or harming the ones already existing there, by fixing prices or dividing the market and clients. Since the state itself is the most frequent customer of capital construction works for the demands of its infrastructure, public procurement processes have seen the biggest number of cartels in the history of the construction industry.
The subject of this research was the analysis of the market competition, i.e., the emergence of prohibited cartels within the construction sector of individual European Union member states, which represent one of the most developed markets and the most well-organized legal systems in the world. The history of changes in the attitude and behavior of construction companies, from cartels as “regular and legitimate economic activity” to prohibited and criminal practice, is shown through relevant legislation, case law, and literature listed in the bibliography. This paper also tries to answer the question how certain cases and the adaptation of legal regulations of EU member states to its legal provisions contributed to the situation with collusion in this sector significantly improving compared to the time at the end of the last and the beginning of this century. However, there is still a lot of work to do until the complete disappearance of prohibited agreements within the construction sector through various processes and reforms.