On 8 October 2013, it was announced that the nuclear industry would not be included in the European Commission’s draft Guidelines on environmental and energy aid for 2014-2020 as anticipated. Earlier in the year, a leaked copy of the draft Guidelines (which the author has read) set out six pages on how the Commission would seek to address State measures in the nuclear industry.
Some commentators are claiming victory for the anti-nuclear lobby; others appear to be suggesting that this is a major setback for the nuclear industry, particularly in the UK where a new fleet of reactors is proposed.
But this development should not be overstated. It may in fact be good news for the nuclear industr [...]
On 25 June 2013, the European Commission launched a public consultation entitled “Towards more effective EU Merger Control” in which the Commission proposes to (i) expand its powers to review non-controlling minority interests and (ii) streamline the case referral system between the Commission and NCAs.
The proposals in respect of minority shareholdings will have a profound impact on corporate M&A activities in Europe.
In short, the Commission proposes extending the EU Merger Regulation to catch certain “structural links” – e.g. an acquisition of a minority shareholding that does not confer the ability to exercise decisive influence under the EU Merger Regulation but potentially allow [...]
Over the last two months, the Commission has been market testing commitments that Google has offered to resolve the Commission’s pending investigation. Many have made thoughtful comments (see for example here, here, and here). But there has also been criticism from the corner of some of Google’s competitors. I represent Google in the Commission’s proceedings and offer here some personal thoughts from a practitioner’s perspective.
The debate over Google’s remedies provides important insights for antitrust analysis. This debate is not only relevant for remedy design, but also exposes weaknesses in the complainants’ underlying substantive theories. Remedy design is not an after [...]
Like the European Commission, I am confident that the European Merger Simplification Project will bring benefits for clients. As many commentators have affirmed, I do not doubt that the increase of the currently applicable market share thresholds for the identification of horizontally and vertically “affected markets” by 5 per cent to 20% and 30% respectively will allow more cases to be treated with less pain. Equally, the “safe harbour” for mergers with very small increments in concentration should be welcomed. If this leads to a lesser administrative burden for companies trying to business in Europe during these continuingly difficult times, then all the better.
However, I am concerned th [...]
On 31 January 2013, the European Commission (DG Internal Market) published a Green Paper on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food and non-food supply chain in Europe. One of the issues that the Green Paper deals with is the use by some suppliers of territorial supply constraints – described as impeding retailers’ ability to source identical goods cross-border in a central location and distributing them to other Member States. The Commission suggests that such constraints result in cross-country price differentials and asserts that these differentials negatively impact the market integration objectives of the EU, thus harming consumers. But as we explain below, simp [...]
Shortly after revealing proposed amendments to the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (for details, please see my post from May 22), the Polish Competition Authority (the President of the Office for Protection of Competition and Consumers) published draft guidelines on commitment decisions (“Guidelines”).
Since PCA nowadays uses commitment decisions increasingly often (125 such decisions were adopted in 2011, being 35 more than in the previous year), it is important for the undertakings operating in Poland to have a clear guidance on how to offer commitments and avoid fines. This post is an attempt to identify possible key practical consequences of the new policy of the PCA, as they [...]