Private enforcement is an increasingly prominent element of EU competition law. The forthcoming Directive on damages actions aims to strengthen and, to a degree, harmonise procedures for private competition litigation, while recent case law of the Court of Justice reaffirms the centrality of the right to claim compensation for losses stemming from breach of the competition rules. Moreover, this right has been presented as an essentially unitary one, whereby any victim of any type of competition infringement has, in principle, the right to claim damages. This chapter reviews the evolving framework, and considers, specifically, the role for private enforcement within the overall system of EU competition law. Taking into account the Commission’s efforts to facilitate and increase private enforcement, the emerging EU public enforcement framework, as well as the substantive EU competition rules more generally, this chapter argues that, contrary to the rhetoric, private enforcement is a mechanism best adapted, and arguably most appropriate, for use only in the context of hard-core cartels. It is further suggested that the gap between rhetoric and reality is not problematic as such, yet difficulties may arise insofar as these divergences conflict with the principle of effectiveness.