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EU: MasterCard ruling pits competition law against transparency issues

 |  September 8, 2014

Credit card giant MasterCard is expecting two major rulings this week from the EU regarding its cross-boarder interchange fees, but one of those rulings, say reports, could have broad ramifications far past antitrust law.

In one case, MasterCard is bracing for a decision from the European Court of Justice later this week over whether the credit card company broke competition law through its cross-boarder interchange fees.

According to reports, the ECJ is set to rule on the case on Thursday. MasterCard denies harming competition or fixing swipe-fees, as is claimed by the European Commission. Regulators have proposed a cap on those cross-boarder fees at 0.2 percent.

In a related case, the EU’s General Court will decide on Tuesday whether the EU Commission should give MasterCard access to documents related to its 2008 study on multilateral interchange fees. The Commission argues that because the papers are part of an ongoing case, they should not be made public. But MasterCard argues that the EU’s Transparency Regulation requires that the Commission hand the documents over.

If Tuesday’s ruling publicizes the documents, reports say a precedent will be set that competition law does not trump transparency law.

Full content: Euractiv

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