Article 101 TFEU is one of the three pillars of EU competition law. It prohibits restrictive agreements between independent market operators acting either at the same level of the economy (horizontal agreements), often as actual or potential competitors, or at different levels (vertical agreements), mostly as producer and distributor. It also precludes decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices. These three types of coordinated market behaviour fall into the ambit of EU competition law if they may affect trade between Member States to an appreciable extent and if they have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market.
Article 101 TFEU consists of three paragraphs the first of which sets out a general prohibition. It precludes any form of collusion between undertakings which may have an adverse effect on undistorted competition within the internal market. The provision contains a list of different prohibited market conduct types. The list is not exhaustive and comprises the following examples:
direct or indirect fixing of purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;
limiting or controlling production, markets, technical development, or investment;
sharing of markets or sources of supply;
applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;
making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.