Right to privacy v. European Commission’s expanded power of inspection according to Regulation 1/2003.
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Regulation No 17: First Regulation implementing Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty set out that in carrying out the duties assigned to it by Article 89 and by provisions adopted under Article 87 of the Treaty, the officials authorized by the EU Commission were empowered inter alia to enter any premises, land and means of transport of undertakings. Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty has expanded Commission’s powers stating that Commission can by decision order an inspection to be conducted in any other premises, land and means of transport, including the homes of directors, managers and other members of staff of the undertakings and associations of undertakings concerned. Such an expansion of the investigative powers of the Commission raises a question of the balance between effectiveness of the EU competition law and a person’s right to privacy, which is guaranteed to everyone by the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Nevertheless this right is not absolute and the conditions for the possible limitations of the exercise of it are enshrined in paragraph 2 of the same article. For this reason the aim of this article is to find out whether Commission’s power to carry out searches in private homes meet the requirements set in Article 8(2) of the Convention, i.e., whether the Commission’s power to conduct such searches could be justified under the ECHR Article 8(2). In this study, the authors analyse the Commission’s extended investigative powers, clarify what is covered by the concept of “privacy”, evaluate the requirements set in Article 8(2) of the Convention, analyse conditions of exercising Commission’s extended investigative power and thus qualify if the latter satisfies the requirements set in Article 8(2) of the ECHR.
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