The European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has emphasised two important developments for EU antitrust enforcement, which have emerged from technological advancements: The Commission is taking proactive steps to consider whether the increasing reliance on computers to handle business processes and decisions raises competition law issues.  One area of current concern is the use of algorithms, in…

We live in a rapidly changing world. The monikers of change are well known to all of us. Trump. Brexit. Eddie Jones. The future is unpredictable. As Joe Cocker sang, “who knows what tomorrow brings”? But let’s climb aboard Elon Musk’s innovative SpaceX Falcon 9 for a moment. Let me take you to another world….

The European Commission has declared its intention to devote more resources in 2017 to investigating and rectifying what it sees as the endemic competition problems in the European rail sector.  It believes that it now needs to prioritise the enforcement of the antitrust, State aid and regulatory rules and obligations in the rail sector through…

What light does the European Commission’s much anticipated 130-page decision, published Monday, 19 December 2016, shed on the Commission’s case and the parties’ prospects for appeal? In the second of a series of short blogs on the Apple case, here’s a quick-look review and comment on the Commission’s decision. We know now that the Commission’s…

When discussing mergers, both Commission officials and private practitioners often characterise these as a “N to N-1”.  We all regularly talk and hear about “6-to-5s”, “5-to-4s”, “4-to-3s”, “3-to-2s”, and even “2-to-1s”.  This blog discusses the growing view that within the Commission, a “4-to-3 or fewer” distinction has become a corridor-talk presumption of anti-competitive effects.  On…

In October 2016, the Commission published a new study on the passing on of overcharges.  A key objective for the Study is to provide judges and other practitioners who are not economic experts with clear insight into the economics of pass-on and the methods that can be used to quantify passing-on and volume effects.  The…

“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” Introduction This quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson might – I sincerely hope after recent events – be applicable to life generally in Brussels in 2017. But not so – I fear – in the world of EU merger control. It…

On 20 September 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued its first settlement decision under Article 102 TFEU following the introduction of Regulation 1/2003 and reduced the fine of Altstoff Recycling Austria (“ARA“) by 30% in exchange for its cooperation. ARA’s fine was thus reduced to €6 million. In addition to the press release, the Commission…

On 19 May 2016, the Commission released its Notice on the notion of state aid. The aim of this Notice is to provide legal certainty by clarifying the key concepts relating to the notion of state aid. Ironically, many argue that the Commission has stretched this notion in the tax ruling cases, harming the same…

Since its entry into force in May 2004, the commitments procedure under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 has become the most prevalent enforcement mechanism used by the European Commission to address infringements of Article 102 and 101 TFEU (other than cartels). According to some statistics, more than 90% of non-cartel cases in the period between…