1. Competent authorities of different Member States shall cooperate with each other whenever necessary for the purpose of carrying out their duties under this Directive, making use of their powers, whether set out in this Directive or in national law.
Competent authorities shall render assistance to competent authorities of the other Member States. In particular, they shall exchange information and cooperate in any investigation or supervisory activities.
In order to facilitate and accelerate cooperation, and more particularly the exchange of information, Member States shall designate one single competent authority as a contact point for the purposes of this Directive. Member States shall communicate to the Commission and to the other Member States the names of the authorities which are designated to receive requests for exchange of information or cooperation pursuant to this paragraph.
2. Member States shall take the necessary administrative and organisational measures to facilitate assistance provided for in paragraph 1.
3. Competent authorities of Member States having been designated as contact points for the purposes of this Directive in accordance with paragraph 1 shall without undue delay supply one another with the information required for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the competent authorities, designated in accordance with Article 5, set out in the measures adopted pursuant to this Directive.
Competent authorities exchanging information with other competent authorities under this Directive may indicate at the time of communication that such information must not be disclosed without their express agreement, in which case such information may be exchanged solely for the purposes for which those authorities gave their agreement.
The competent authority having been designated as the contact point may transmit the information received to the other competent authorities, however it shall not transmit the information to other bodies or natural or legal persons without the express agreement of the competent authorities which disclosed it and solely for the purposes for which those authorities gave their agreement, except in duly justified circumstances in which case it shall immediately inform the contact point that supplied the information.
4. A competent authority may refuse to act on a request for cooperation in carrying out an investigation or supervisory activity or to exchange information as provided for in paragraph 3 only where:
(a) such an investigation, on-the-spot verification, supervisory activity or exchange of information might adversely affect the sovereignty, security or public policy of the Member State addressed;
(b) judicial proceedings have already been initiated in respect of the same actions and the same persons before the authorities of the Member State addressed;
(c) final judgement has already been delivered in the Member State addressed in respect of the same persons and the same actions.
In the event of such a refusal, the competent authority shall notify the requesting competent authority accordingly, providing as detailed information as possible.