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…

On May 5, 2021, the European Commission (the Commission) adopted a proposal for a regulation (the Anti-Subsidy Regulation) to combat distortions of competition in the European Union (EU) caused by subsidies granted by non-EU Member States to companies doing business in the EU.  The Anti-Subsidy Regulation is an important part of the von der Leyen…

In Joseph Heller’s seminal World War II novel, the protagonist Captain Yossarian finds himself in an inescapable situation. To continue flying into war is insane, but claiming insanity to avoid going to war immediately demonstrates your sanity. There is no way out. This is Catch-22. But the book also has other fascinating passages, touching on…

On April 21, 2021, the EU Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation (the AI Regulation) on “artificial intelligence systems” (AI systems), which it describes as “the first-ever legal framework on AI.” The AI Regulation will impose significant obligations impacting businesses across many, if not all, sectors of the economy. The AI Regulation will prove…

On March 26, the EU Commission announced a major reform of EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) procedures, arguably the most significant since the 2004 adoption of the current EUMR.  The current EUMR expanded EU jurisdiction by broadening the EUMR standard of review and allowing parties to request that transactions notifiable in three or more Member States…

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…