Sustainability as a policy priority It is no news that sustainability is an important topic of competition policy across the EU. There is clear consensus that competition law enforcement should be careful not to hinder cooperation between companies, even competitors, that facilitates the realisation of or progress towards reaching sustainability goals of climate policy (or…

The European Commission’s horizontal guidelines are an invaluable tool for practitioners in antitrust compliance work. The team at Unit A1 in DG COMP have done a great job at further developing the guidelines in the new draft that was published for stakeholder comments on 1 March 2022. Today, the EU & Competition team at Szecskay…

The following is a selection of some of the most important developments in German competition law and policy in 2021.  It has been a busy year for the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”), inter alia because the new rules for digital companies took effect.  The following covers cases under these new rules, abuse of dominance, merger…

Debates amongst competition scholars and practitioners have been buzzing with references to sustainability recently. Several books and articles were written about the topic in the last two years and several competition agencies have written position papers about it. Most of the debate about the interaction between competition law and sustainability concerns agreements between competitors that…

On 1 March 2022, the European Commission (“EC”) published for consultation two draft revised horizontal block exemption regulations (“HBERs”) on research & development (“R&D”) and specialisation agreements, as well as draft revised horizontal cooperation guidelines (“Horizontal Guidelines”). The EC’s stated aim is to make it easier for companies to cooperate in areas such as R&D…

The Commission’s draft chapter on sustainability cooperation may surprise even those following the debate about EU antitrust policy and sustainability closely. A more worldly approach to benefits, a new and useful tailored safe harbour for sustainability standards, plus a good first attempt to keep sustainability cooperation out of Article 101.1 (or at least the ‘by…

On 8 July 2021, the Commission found that Daimler, BMW and the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) violated competition law by colluding on technical development in the area of emission cleaning for new passenger diesel cars, fining the latter two a total of €875 million. The current hype regarding competition law and sustainability comes…

On 6 May 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its evaluation of the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and the Guidelines on Horizontal co-operation agreements (“HGL”) (as reported here). The evaluation indicated that revision and clarity is needed in various areas, inter alia for sustainability agreements. The Dutch Authority for Consumer & Markets (“ACM”) announced on…

On 6 May 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a staff working document (“SWD”) on its evaluation of the horizontal block exemption regulations on research & development and specialisation agreements (“H-BERs”) and the horizontal guidelines. The SWD is accompanied by an evaluation study, commissioned to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence to support the Commission’s evaluation. The findings show…