In addition to sovereign (coercive) measures such as requirements and bans as classic instruments of environmental protection, there are more and more agreements between companies that promote environmental protection. From an antitrust point of view, such cooperations between companies are problematic because they usually constitute a restriction of competition.

The study deals with the question whether the environmental protection objective leads to a special evaluation in the antitrust assessment of such an agreement. The focus is on an analysis of Art. 85 EC Treaty. Using the example of so-called self-restraint agreements, the prohibition of cartels and the conditions for exemption from the prohibition of cartels laid down in the agreement are examined against the background of the cross-cutting environmental law clause of Art. 130 r EC Treaty. It is further clarified to what extent an official initiation of such agreements – which is frequently found in practice – changes their assessment under antitrust law.

The work is of particular interest to lawyers advising companies, associations and authorities concerned with environmental protection issues. The author is a lawyer in Berlin.