On 17 March 2021, the European Commission (EC) has published the results of its public consultation on the review of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER). Key Points The automotive sector is under surveillance as it has been affected by a number of EC-issued cartel decisions in the last few years. Distribution systems and…

A February 4 conference on competition policy and the Green Deal sponsored by the European Commission’s (the Commission’s) Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) highlighted the divergences of opinions among antitrust officials and other stakeholders on how competition policy should support sustainability objectives.  DG COMP aims to take a leading role on sustainability issues; its October-November…

On 6 January 2020, the European Commission (EC) published an inception impact assessment that invites comments on the scope of application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for the self-employed. The EC will launch in the first half of 2021 a more detailed public consultation, with a view to the possible adoption of…

The European Commission (the Commission) closed out its ambitious 2020 antitrust reform agenda with the long-awaited consultation (the Consultation) on reform of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (the VBER) and related Guidelines (the VGL), published on December 18, 2020.  The Consultation’s proposals, which closely follow the Commission’s October 2020 Inception Impact Assessment (the Inception Impact…

Large platforms acting as “digital gatekeepers” are increasingly drawing competition agencies’ attention. While no legal definition of a “gatekeeper” has been laid down yet,[1] this concept is meant to cover platforms that rely on significant network effects. A “gatekeeper” may also be a go-between, controlling access from one point to another. However, gatekeepers may refuse…

“I’ve been wondering how to give a metaphor because these are two quite complex proposals. And the best thing I came to think of was the first-ever traffic light that brought order in the streets, that was actually in the US, in Cleveland Ohio. And that was invented as a response to a major technological…

Ever since the 2001 Courage judgment, private actions for damages are on the rise. The Commission wanted to quickly follow with a legislative act including minimum standards for private enforcement across the EU. In the end, it took a while. In 2005, the authority published a Green Paper, in 2008 a substantially amended White Paper….

The Court of Auditors believes that the introduction of new instruments should go hand in hand with stricter enforcement of existing instruments In a Special Report published on 19 November 2020, the European Court of Auditors (the ‘Court’) makes a plea for more stringent enforcement of EU competition policy. The Special Report comes at a…

The European Court of Auditors’ Special Report published on 19 November 2020 is an interesting read for a dark COVID winter evening: “The Commission’s EU merger control and antitrust proceedings: a need to scale up market oversight“.[1] In respect of merger control, the Report (and the European Commission’s Response to the ECA contained in it)…

Spotlight on Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ The calls for Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ or ‘strategic sovereignty’ have been gaining increasing traction in Brussels policy circles over the past few years. With its origins in the fields of defence and security, the idea of Europe’s autonomy has started to resonate beyond these areas, extending to foreign and economic…