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European legal watch - Newsletter n°93

August 03, 2020

European Commission consults stakeholders on the update of competition law rules

In the context of the current crisis, discussions on the reform of competition policy were quick to re-emerge. In a joint declaration of 18 May 2020, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel called for modernising European competition policy by speeding up the adaptation of competition rules.

The European Commission, which had announced that it had begun a review of the evolution of competition law rules as early as 2019, published on 2 June 2020 an initial impact study and a public consultation on the necessity of adapting the existing rules in order to remedy certain competition problems.
According to Commissioner Vestager, the fact that markets are changing significantly as a result of digital, environmental and globalisation challenges justifies, that “the competition rules are fit for that change

While the Commission considers that the current rules must be maintained and rigorously enforced, new tools may nevertheless be necessary, particularly in digital markets. The Commission proposes two main adaptations:

  • Ex-ante regulation of the major platforms, including specific rules for those benefiting from network effects i.e. gatekeepers; and
  • A new tool to remedy structural competition issues.

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