On 23 October 2020, the European Commission (EC) published its inception impact assessment of policy options for a potential revision of the EU Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and accompanying Vertical Guidelines for consultation. This inception impact assessment will be followed by a more detailed impact assessment that the EC will publish for public consultation…

After two rounds of public consultations that ended 8 September 2020, the European Commission (‘Commission’) appears to be on track and make its proposals for new enforcement powers more concrete. The Commission intends to adopt its two definitive legislative proposals before the end of 2020. In this post, we take a look at where the…

What are commitments? The recent effort by the Commission to settle the Aspen case suggests that commitment decisions are the preferred route to settle complex excessive pricing cases at EU-level.  Previous commitment cases where high prices have been at issue include Rambus, Standard & Poor’s and Gazprom.  The EU rules allow the Commission to make…

On 13 October 2020, the European Commission (EC) published a call for contributions to gather ideas on how EU competition rules (State aid, antitrust, and merger control) and sustainability policies can best work together. The aim is to gather the widest set of views possible to determine how the competition rules should be amended (if…

The public consultation for the European Commission’s White Paper on Foreign Subsidies closed on September 23 this year. Perfect timing to discuss the stakeholders’ feedback. Wolters Kluwer therefore organized a webinar on October 8, 2020, involving leading experts from the Commission, WTO, OECD, and private practice: Eddy De Smijter, Head of the International Relations Unit…

Background On July 15, 2020, the General Court annulled the 2016 Commission Decision ordering Ireland to recover EUR 13 billion of illegal State aid from Apple,[1] chiefly, because the Commission had not demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that an advantage had been granted.[2] On the same day, the Commission’s Executive Vice-President M. Vestager released…

A recent speech[1] by the European Commission’s (the Commission)’s Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (the Commissioner), on the 30th anniversary of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR), praised it as having created “a better life for everyone”, “saved customers billions of euros each year” and, in “a matter of life and death”, ensured the continuation of…

On 29 June 2020, the European Commission (“EC”) adopted a third amendment to the Temporary Framework of 19 March 2020 (“Temporary Framework”) to extend the options available to Member State governments seeking to support their economies further. Specifically, the assistance covers aid for smaller companies as well as means of encouraging additional investment from the…

1.  Overview On 17 June 2020, the European Commission (“EC”) issued a White Paper consulting on “Levelling the Playing Field as regards Foreign Subsidies”. These are major new proposals to protect EU companies against perceived unfair advantage from companies benefitting from subsidies from non-EU States. Countries such as China and Russia have already reacted to…

On 2 June 2020, the European Commission published its roadmap on the possible introduction of a ‘new competition tool’ that would allow it to initiate market investigations into perceived structural competition problems, with the ability to impose market-wide remedies on companies. The proposal has obvious parallels to the market investigation tools already in place in…