Simple requests for information

Simple requests for information

Drafting simple requests for information

A simple request for information (Art 18 (2)) contains a cover letter and generally four/five annexes.

More about Simple requests for information

The cover letter states the legal basis and the purpose of the request. It fixes the time-limit within which the information is to be provided, indicates the penalties provided for in Article 23 for supplying incorrect or misleading information, specifies the need of providing a non-confidential version and mentions the contact details of the case team.

More about the Subject

Undertakings must be given a reasonable time-limit to reply to the request, according to the length and complexity of the request taking into account the requirements of the investigation. In general, this time limit will be at least two weeks from the receipt of the request. If from the outset, it is considered that a longer period is required, the time limit to rely to the request will be set accordingly. When the scope of the request is limited, for example if it only covers a short clarification of information previously provided or information readily available to the addressee of the request, the time limit will normally be shorter (one week or less). It is better to fix a date for the reply and not a period: e.g. “You are requested to ensure that your reply to the attached questionnaire reaches the Commission no later than [DATE FOR REPLY].”

Other Considerations

The cover letter also requires the addressee to indicate whether it considers that information provided in the reply is confidential. In that case, in accordance with Article 16(3) of Reg. 773/2004, the addressee must substantiate its claims individually with regard to each item of information and provide a non-confidential version of the information. Such a non-confidential version should be provided in the same format as the confidential information, replacing deleted passages by summaries thereof. Unless otherwise agreed, a non-confidential version should be provided at the same time as the original submission. If undertakings fail to comply with these requirements, the Commission may assume that the documents or statements concerned do not contain confidential information pursuant to Article 16(4) of Reg. 773/2004.


When the first investigative measure is addressed to them, addressees are informed of the fact that they are subject to a preliminary investigation and of the subject-matter and purpose of such investigation. Addressees are also reminded that if the behaviour under investigation is found to have taken place this might constitute an infringement of Articles 101 and/or 102 TFEU.


The main annex is the questionnaire, being the list of questions which have to be answered by the addressee. To set the background for the questions, the questionnaire informs the addressee about the subject-matter and purpose of the investigation. Questions should not invite selfincriminatory replies (see further section 5).


Another important annex is the annex “Business secrets and other confidential information” explaining the concepts of business secrets and confidential information, which gives more practical guidance on confidentiality claims than the Notice on Access to file (notably including an example of a table for such claims).


If not explained in the cover-letter, one annex provides guidance on how to reply to the request for information in the most efficient manner.


One annex recalls the relevant legal provisions, namely the relevant provisions of Reg. 1/2003 i.e. Articles 18(1), (2) and (4) and Article 2(1)(a).


The annex “Acknowledgement of receipt” is enclosed, to be completed and returned by fax to DG Competition immediately upon receipt of the request for information. .


In certain cases DG Competition might discuss with the addressees the scope and the format of the request for information. This practice can be particularly useful in cases of requests which require quantitative data to be provided.6


See Also


  • Information about Simple requests for information in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)

Further Reading

  • Information about Simple requests for information in EU Competition Procedure, 3rd. Edition, Edited by Luis Ortiz Blanco (Oxford University Press)

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