1. Intro-Union infringements (Art. 3(2));
2. Widespread infringements (Art. 3(3)); and
3. Widespread infringements with a Union dimension (Art. 3(4))
What should be noted is that although in these instances national authorities may act, the discovery of the infringement itself is not theirs to make. This is because, as a general rule, national authorities may act within the territory of a member state. So when an infringement as per one of the definitions above is discovered in one member-state, that member-state’s authorities have to request that another member-state’s authorities take action.
Even though a national authorities have a general obligation to assist one another, there are instances where they may refuse to do so. These include, for example, when following its own investigation, the national authority concludes that no infringement took place, or when the infringer has committed to discontinue his or her unlawful activities within a specified time period and the national authority has agreed to this.
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