On 12 July 2023, the new EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation (“FSR”) started applying to all non-EU and EU companies and all sectors of the economy. FSR filled a regulatory gap which existed since 1958. The European Commission (the “Commission”) is vested by FSR with wide investigative and decisional powers to prevent any distortions in the EU internal market caused by “foreign subsidies” (“FS”) granted by non-EU countries.
On 10 May 2022, the European Commission adopted new EU competition rules for vertical distribution agreements that entered into force on 1 June 2022, bringing important amendments to the current rules by partly narrowing the safe harbour but also allowing for more flexibility. Distribution agreements that are already in force on 31 May 2022 benefit from a one-year transitional period.…
In August 2020, we wrote a blog post about the adoption by the European Commission (“Commission”) of a White Paper on Foreign Subsidies. On 5 May 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market after an extensive consultation process with stakeholders. This post updates our previous entry and considers the implications of the newly proposed regulation.
Continue Reading The European Commission Adopts a Proposal for a Regulation on Foreign Subsidies Distorting the Internal Market
This 1970 hit by Simon & Garfunkel is a beautiful song about giving a helping hand to someone caught in a situation of distress. And there is also broad consensus around the world that the digital platform markets are caught in troubled waters. A few mighty rivers run so high and so fast that they are drowning smaller creeks around them and carrying away anyone riding them. Different attempts to contain these massive flows have been made, but they were not strong enough. This has led to a widely visible enforcement gap, because the tools needed to build solid bridges for smaller rivals and consumers were either missing or not properly applied so far.
Continue Reading “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Crossing the Enforcement Gulf for Digital Platforms
With digital platforms present in every aspect of our lives, it was only a matter of time before regulators started to think about how to manage the new issues and competition concerns they raise. Leading platforms have grown in size and market power raising concerns for regulators about dominance and market foreclosure.
Continue Reading Digital Platforms Face New EU Regulations
The ever increasing market power and often criticised conduct of data driven platforms is not new, but lately the efforts to tackle these appear to have taken a decisive turn. We are now on the verge of new rules and tools to tackle the competition issues arising with the tech giants.
Continue Reading Digital Platforms — New EU Regulations and Competition Law Tools
As State aid measures granted by EU Member States continue to surge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak and ongoing pandemic, the European Commission (“Commission”) has turned to subsidies coming from non-EU countries.
On 17 June, the Commission announced that it had adopted a consultative White Paper which sets out proposed new legal tools to deal with the distortive effects caused by foreign subsidies in the European Single Market. With this, it opened a public consultation seeking input from stakeholders on the proposals set out in the White Paper. The public consultation will be open until 23 September 2020.
With the benefit of some distance since the issuance of this White Paper, we assess the proposal and the responses to it.
Continue Reading The European Commission Adopts White Paper on Foreign Subsidies – A Trend Towards Protectionism on a Global Level?
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered worldwide pandemonium and is disrupting business throughout all sectors. It is undeniably a major shock for the global economy. While the need for a coordinated response has been recognised at the highest levels in the EU, this does not mean that the application of competition law is suspended during the crisis.
Continue Reading COVID-19 is Not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” from EU Competition Law
The unique EU State aid control law requires, in principle, prior notification by Member States and approval by the Commission of all State aid. During a time of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, EU law allows for a flexible approach for approving urgent State aid. In this post, we discuss the current state of play in the EU and offer some general items to consider for undertakings receiving State aid during this extraordinary time.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Outbreak and Adjusted EU State Aid Control
In a long-awaited ruling of June 18, 2019, the General Court of the European Union (“GCEU”) annulled the European Commission’s 2015 State aid decision in the Micula case (joined cases T-624/15, T-694/15 and T-704/15). The ruling provides valuable clarifications regarding the relationship between intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (“BIT”) and EU State aid rules.
In sum, the GCEU confirmed that the European Commission lacked jurisdiction to apply EU law in a situation where all relevant events took place before accession to the EU. The validity of intra-EU BITs was not at issue because, during the relevant time period, the BIT in question (the 2002 Sweden-Romania BIT) was between a Member State (Sweden) and a third country (Romania).
Continue Reading International Arbitration, Investment Protection and EU State Aid Rules: the General Court of the EU Annuls the European Commission’s State Aid Decision in the Micula Case
The intricate syndicated loan market has recently triggered attention from competition authorities internationally. Recently, the Spanish competition authority fined €91 million a syndicate of four Spanish banks. The Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP) of the European Commission launched a study on the topic in April 2017 (COMP/2017/008 – EU loan syndication and its impact on competition in credit markets). In anticipation of the results of this study, which are expected by the end of 2018 or early 2019, we highlight some of the competition law risks that may cause greater concern.
Continue Reading Loan Syndication and EU Competition Law