Archives: European Commission

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The New Normal? EU Commission Prepares a New Competition Enforcement Tool Aiming at Structural Competition Concerns

The European Commission (”Commission”) is preparing the ground for a new competition enforcement tool. This new tool could substantially extend the competition authority’s current enforcement powers and allow for far-reaching intervention where the Commission identifies structural competition concerns. In particular, following the proposal, the standard for intervention could be lowered significantly as the Commission may … Continue Reading

European Commission publishes White Paper on the Review of Foreign Subsidies – [New/More] Intervention Powers ahead?

On 17 June 2020 the European Commission (“Commission”) published a White Paper on new enforcement powers regarding foreign subsidies. This initiative pursues two objectives, first it sets out a general policy approach for foreign subsidies, and second, it provides a number of proposals to address a perceived regulatory gap. More specifically, the White Paper suggests new tools … Continue Reading

The General Court Annuls the Commission’s Decision to Block the Acquisition of Telefónica UK by Hutchison 3G UK – a Landmark Judgment for EU Merger Control?

On 28 May 2020, the EU’s General Court (“GC”) annulled the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision of 11 May 2016 in which the Commission had prohibited the acquisition of Telefónica UK (“O2”) by Hutchison 3G UK (“Three”). It is the first time the EU Courts interpreted the EU Merger Regulation in so-called “gap-cases”, i.e., concentrations in … Continue Reading

Regulation of Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) gathers Pace across Europe – A Week of Change.

The FDI space in Europe remains dynamic. Less than five months from the entering into force of the EU FDI Regulation, and just two months since the European Commission asked the Member States to both strengthen and “vigorously” implement the tools available to them and, where appropriate, introduce new FDI screening mechanisms –on which we … Continue Reading

Sustainability and Competition: Covington Assists Unilever on Submission to European Competition Authorities on the Competition Implications of Sustainability Cooperation

With the assistance of Covington, Unilever submitted the attached paper to the European Commission and a number of National Competition Authorities.  It suggests a possible framework for the application of EU competition law to sustainability collaborations between competitors. The paper reflects insights from experts across Unilever and puts forward examples of existing or possible co-operations, … Continue Reading

European Commission Adopts Measures Aimed at Mitigating the Effects of COVID-19 in the Agri-Food Sector

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission (“EC”) is taking steps to stabilise the most affected sectors of the economy. As part of its efforts, the EC has announced its support for the agricultural and food sectors which are severely affected by the pandemic. This includes an exceptional derogation from the EU … Continue Reading

The European Commission Includes Recapitalisation Measures in the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support the Economy During the COVID-19 Outbreak

On 8 May 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted a second amendment (the “New Amendment”) to the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak (the “Temporary Framework”) (see our previous post on the Temporary Framework here and on the first amendment here). The New Amendment sets out the … Continue Reading

The UK Court of Appeal Clarifies the Legal Test for Excessive Pricing

Under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”), an undertaking may abuse its dominant position by “directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices”.  The UK Court of Appeal recently provided guidance regarding the legal test to determine whether pricing is excessive and unfair.  In March, it dismissed … Continue Reading

European Commission Goes “Live” on FDI Coordination Six Months Early, Proposing Cooperation on an Informal and Voluntary Basis

The European Commission has added to its call to Member States to act on foreign direct investment (“FDI”) by announcing that it is ready to support EU-level cooperation on FDI now. Spurred on by the COVID-19 crisis and the perceived vulnerability of key EU assets, the informal cooperation announced by the Commission will bring into … Continue Reading

Competition Enforcement Under the COVID-19 Crisis: DG COMP Staff’s Views

In two recent webinars covering antitrust, mergers and state aid, DG COMP senior officials shared their views on how DG COMP is operating under the current COVID-19 crisis. Antitrust: More Flexible Enforcement Maria Jaspers, head of unit for antitrust case support and policy, gave the following key messages: The absence of legal deadlines creates certain … Continue Reading

The Commission amends the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak

On 3 April 2020, the European Commission adopted an amendment (the “Amendment”) extending the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak (The “Temporary Framework”) (See our previous post on the Temporary Framework here). The Amendment aims in particular to facilitate the grant of aid for the research, testing … Continue Reading

European Commission reviews its approach to market definition

The European Commission has initiated a public consultation on Friday 3 April, kicking off the review of its relevant market notice. All stakeholders are invited to make their views known, over the course of a six-week period concluding on 15 May 2020. The Notice on the definition of relevant market dates from 1997 and provides … Continue Reading

The Commission’s Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support the Economy during the COVID-19 Outbreak

On 19 March 2020, the European Commission adopted a Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak (“The Framework”). The Framework is based on Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU, which allows State aid to be granted in order to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy. It sets … Continue Reading

Advanced Competition Law Conference Brussels – Joint Presentation on Recent EU Cartel Enforcement

On 27 November, Johan Ysewyn and Annemarie ter Heegde (DG COMP) presented the highlights of recent EU cartel enforcement in their annual presentation at the Advanced EU Competition Law Conference in Brussels. They covered the developments in the traditional three pillars of enforcement, policy and court review.… Continue Reading

Vestager outlines portfolio plans in European Parliament confirmation hearing

After her confirmation hearing in front of the European Parliament on Tuesday 8 October, Magrethe Vestager looks certain to remain as Competition Commissioner for a second term and to combine that with a broader responsibility for digital policy development. Both the second term and the combination of the competition portfolio with a policy brief are … Continue Reading

Margrethe Vestager re-appointed as Competition Commissioner and given a broader digital mandate

On 10 September 2019, Margrethe Vestager was proposed as the European Commissioner for Competition, a post which she has held since November 2014.  The appointment is still subject to the confirmation of the European Parliament. Vestager has also been given the role of Executive Vice President, with the mandate of making “Europe Fit for the … Continue Reading

The European Commission’s guidance on passing-on damages calculation

The European Commission (“EC”) has recently published Guidelines for national courts on how to estimate the share of the overcharge caused by cartels which was passed on by direct purchasers to their customers (“Passing-on Guidelines”). The Passing-on Guidelines provide an extensive practical overview of the applicable legal context, the relevant economic theory and quantification methods … Continue Reading

Advanced Competition Law Conference London – Joint Presentation on Recent EU Cartel Enforcement

On 14 May, Johan Ysewyn and Dirk Van Erps (DG COMP) gave a presentation on recent EU cartel enforcement at the annual Advanced EU Competition Law Conference in London. Their presentation covered developments in enforcement, policy, and court review between May 2018 and May 2019. There was not much cartel enforcement by the European Commission … Continue Reading

The European Commission publishes report on EU loan syndication and its impact on competition in credit markets

On 5 April 2019, the European Commission (“EC”) published a report – prepared by Europe Economics at the request of DG COMP – on EU loan syndication and its impact on competition in credit markets (the “Report”). The Report describes the functioning of the syndicated loan business and seeks to assess whether there are potential … Continue Reading

EU Court Confirms the Annulment of the European Commission’s Decision Prohibiting the UPS/TNT Transaction

On 16 January 2019, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rejected the European Commission’s (“Commission”) appeal in Commission v. UPS. The judgment followed Advocate General Kokott’s Opinion of July 2018, and upholds the 2017 judgment of the General Court (“GC”) annulling on procedural grounds the Commission’s decision prohibiting the acquisition of TNT by UPS.… Continue Reading

Deal or No Deal Brexit? The Lowdown for Competition Law (Part 1)

Potentially significant changes are just around the corner for the UK competition system, as the country prepares to take the final step of exiting the European Union. In this regard, the UK has three potential options: (i) leave with a deal; (ii) leave without a deal; or (iii) postpone the date of leaving. Should the … Continue Reading

The European Commission finds no illegal State aid was provided by Luxembourg’s non-taxation of McDonald’s

On 19 September 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued a press release declaring that Luxembourg did not provide illegal State aid to McDonald’s with regards to two tax rulings that resulted in double non-taxation of franchise profits in Luxembourg. The Commission’s three-year-long in-depth investigation established that Luxembourg had merely acted in compliance with its national … Continue Reading
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