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Category Archives: EC Developments

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Commission Holds Goldman Sachs Liable for Former Portfolio Company’s Antitrust Infringement

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, EC Developments

by Veronica Pinotti, Lionel Lesur, Martino Sforza, Nicolò di Castelnuovo In its decision of 2 April 2014 in relation to the underground and submarine high voltage power cables cartel case (COMP/39610), the European Commission (Commission) held the parent companies of the producers involved liable, on the basis that they had exercised decisive influence over the producers. [...]

Significant Changes to UK Competition Regime Now Effective

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, EC Developments, EU Developments

by Andrea Hamilton, David Henry, Aiste Slezeviciute The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 took effect on 1 April 2014. Increased efficiencies and deterrence are the main drivers of this reform. As of 1 April 2014, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) brings about significant substantive and structural change to the United Kingdom’s [...]

European Commission Adopts Revised Competition Regime for Technology Transfer Agreements

Posted in EC Developments

On 21 March 2014, the European Commission (Commission) adopted a revised set of rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements by the Commission and national competition authorities. The new Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Technology Transfer Guidelines will enter into force on 1 May 2014. The revised regime provides clearer and, arguably [...]

European Commission Targets Spanish Football Clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona for State Aid Investigations

Posted in EC Developments

The European Commission (Commission), on 18 December 2013, opened three formal State aid investigations into public support measures for major Spanish football clubs. The Commission alleges that the clubs under investigation have benefitted from State aid that cannot be authorised. The clubs, which include Real Madrid and Barcelona, are therefore exposed to the risk of [...]

European Commission Investigates Exemption from Renewable Energy Surcharge for Energy-Intensive Companies in Germany

Posted in EC Developments, Energy/Commodities, German Developments

The European Commission today opened a State aid investigation into the German Renewable Energy Source Act (the EEG), claiming that the EEG may have given unlawful advantages to energy-intensive companies in Germany. These companies now face the potential risk that benefits totalling billions of euros may have to be repaid. The European Commission (Commission) today [...]

European Commission Simplifies Aspects of EU Merger Control

Posted in EC Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

The European Commission (Commission) has issued a package of measures (the Reform Package), the rationale for which is to simplify and streamline EU merger control. The Reform Package does this by extending “simplified” treatment to more transactions, reducing the information that parties to a notifiable transaction have to submit and streamlining the pre-notification process. The [...]

Relief for harm incurred as a result of protracted judicial review must be sought before General Court

Posted in EC Developments

On 26 November 2013, the European Union’s top court, the European Court of Justice, gave a seminal ruling establishing the principle that a claim for damages for losses incurred as a result of excessively long judicial review proceedings before the General Court must be brought in a separate action before the General Court itself. Introduction [...]

EU National Courts May Have to Order Recovery of State Aid Before European Commission Makes Final Decision

Posted in EC Developments, German Developments

The European Court of Justice decided on 21 November 2013 that EU national courts must assume that a measure qualifies as State aid, if the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into that measure. This judgment is relevant to all cases in which the disputed measure was already granted, or is planned to be [...]

CJEU Confirms Prior State Aid Cannot be Taken into Account by Public Authority To Justify Further Subsidies as Market Behaviour

Posted in EC Developments

In its recent judgment in Land Burgenland (Joined Cases C-214/12 P, C-215/12 P and C-223/12 P) the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that State aid granted to an undertaking in the past must not be taken into account in the context of the Market Economy Operator Principle to justify further subsidies, [...]

UK Competition Commission Provisionally Finds Anti-Competitive Features in Privately-Funded Health Care

Posted in EC Developments, Healthcare Antitrust

The UK Competition Commission (the CC) has provisionally found that there are anti-competitive features in the supply or acquisition of privately-funded health care services, which give rise to adverse effects on competition.  If the CC’s provisional position is indicative of its final position, private healthcare providers—in particular, private hospital groups—may face significant changes in how [...]

State Aid Procedural Regulation Grants More Powers to the European Commission

Posted in EC Developments

by Martina Maier and Robert Bäuerle, with contribution from Katharina Dietz, a paralegal at McDermott Will & Emery’s Brussels office New rules of procedure in EU State aid investigations will enter into force very soon.  The European Commission will, for the first time, have the opportunity to request information from entities other than the EU Member State concerned, [...]

On Heels of European Raids, Energy Companies Face U.S. Class Actions

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, EC Developments, Energy/Commodities

by Megan Morley White Oaks Fund LP, an Illinois private placement fund, filed a class action suit last week against BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Statoil ASA in the Southern District of New York.  White Oaks Fund v. BP PLC, et al., case number 1:13-cv-04553.  The complaint alleges that the energy companies colluded [...]

New Guidelines on Regional Aid for 2014-2020

Posted in EC Developments

by Martina Maier The European Commission adopted new Guidelines for regional aid for the period 2014–2020.  The new legal framework will have significant impact on the possibility of public support for investments of public and private undertakings in the European Union.  Major policy changes include the limitation of the possibility for large undertakings to benefit [...]

New German Cartel Fine Guidelines

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, EC Developments, German Developments

by Martina Maier, Philipp Werner and Robert Bäuerle The German Federal Cartel Office has just published new Guidelines on the Setting of Fines for antitrust law infringements.  With these guidelines, the German Federal Cartel Office departs from the method of setting fines used by the European Commission and other national competition authorities in Europe. As [...]

EU Commission Published Proposals for Private Antitrust Litigation

Posted in EC Developments

by Lionel Lesur, Martina Maier and Philipp Werner On 11 June, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its long-awaited package of proposals on private antitrust litigation. The package is divided into three sets: (1) a Draft Directive on actions for damages (2) a Draft Recommendation on promoting group claims (3) and a Draft Communication and Draft [...]

EU Commission Published Proposals for Private Antitrust Litigation

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, EC Developments, Private Litigation

by Lionel Lesur, Martina Maier and Philipp Werner On 11 June, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its long-awaited package of proposals on private antitrust litigation. The package is divided into three sets: (1) a Draft Directive on actions for damages (2) a Draft Recommendation on promoting group claims (3) and a Draft Communication and Draft [...]

EU State Aid Investigation into German Renewable Energy Law

Posted in EC Developments, Energy/Commodities, German Developments

 by Martina Maier and Philipp Werner The European Commission (Commission) is likely to open a formal EU State aid investigation into the German Renewable Energy Source Act. According to the Commission, the Act may have given unlawful advantages to renewable energy producers and energy-intensive companies (those producing chemicals or steel) in Germany. Producers and companies that benefited [...]

Revisions to The European Union’s Trade Defense Instruments

Posted in EC Developments

by Philip Bentley The European Commission has published legislative proposals that would make EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy instruments more efficient and better adapted to shield EU producers from unfair practices.  Specifically, the changes would also protect producers from any risk of retaliation by exporters or exporting countries. To read the full article, click here. 

Requests for Suspension of EU Common Customs Tariff Still Under Consideration

Posted in EC Developments

by Philip Bentley, QC Over 250 of the product requests submitted for tariff suspensions in January 2014 are still being examined by the EU Economic Tariff Question Group.  The list of the products for which duty suspensions have been requested is now available on the website of the European Commission’s Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General. [...]

Commission Launches First State Aid Investigations Into Football Clubs

Posted in EC Developments

by Martina Maier and Robert Bäuerle  The European Commission opened the first in-depth investigation into alleged State aid for professional football clubs.  This comes after the Commission launched investigations into the financing of arenas.  It is likely that other professional football clubs in the European Union, and other professional sports clubs and their related infrastructure, [...]

Brussels Court of Appeal Rules that Legal Professional Privilege Applies to In-house Counsel

Posted in EC Developments

by Wilko van Weert and David Henry On 5 March 2013, the Brussels Court of Appeal delivered a judgment finding that, under Belgian law, in-house counsel are covered by legal professional privilege (LPP).  In relation to antitrust investigations, the ruling highlights that LPP in the European Union depends on, not just local rules, but also [...]