Bird & Bird LLP
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The Florence Competition Programme of the European University Institute (EUI) and Bird & Bird LLP cordially invite you to join the 3rd Brussels Seminar.
The event, titled “Economic Analysis in EU Competition Policy: Current Trends and Future Perspectives” will take place on 19th May 2022, in the afternoon. The seminar aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from national governments and EU institutions, along with industry representatives, to debate the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy.
During the event, the book recently published by Edward Elgar Publishing on this subject will be presented.
During the past two decades, competition policy enforcement has been characterized by a greater role of economic analysis. In particular, the European Commission has progressively moved from a ‘legalistic’ approach, whereby certain market conducts were per se prohibited under Art. 101-102 TFEU, to a ‘more economic’ approach, whereby the Commission would assess on a case-by-case the anti-competitive effect of the contested behaviour on the consumers’ welfare, and it would take into consideration possible efficiency justifications too. After some initial reluctance, the EU Court of Justice has accepted the new enforcement approach: in Cartes Bancaires, Budapest Bank and Generics, the Court pointed out that a competition authority should normally assess an agreement as an effect restriction under Art. 101; the authority would face a higher burden of proof to investigate an agreement as an object restriction. Similarly, in Intel, the Court emphasized that the goal of EU competition policy is to safeguard the consumers’ welfare, rather than inefficient competitors, while in Post Danmark I the Court recognized that a dominant firm may put forward some efficiency arguments to justify abuse of dominance. While the recent case law of the EU Court of Justice has enhanced the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy, recent legislative developments seem to contradict this trend. The Digital Markets Act (DMA), in particular, defines a digital gatekeeper based on quantitative thresholds, such as the firm’s turnover and a number of users, rather than following a case-by-case assessment of the firm’s market power. In addition, Art. 5-6 DMA prohibit per se several behaviours by digital gatekeepers, without assessing the anti-competitive effect of the conduct and without considering any efficiency considerations.
The Brussels seminar aims at discussing recent trends and future developments in relation to the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy. In particular, the question is whether the EU Court of Justice case law indeed represents a ‘step forward’, while the DMA may be qualified as a ‘step backwards’ in relation to the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy.
European Commission, DG Competition
Viktoria HSE Robertson
University of Graz
LUISS School of European Political Economy
Bird & Bird
ESA Administrative Tribunal
The seminar is organized in a ‘hybrid’ format: invited speakers and attendees will follow the event in person, at the Bird&Bird office in Brussels. On the other hand, the audience may also follow the seminar via Zoom. Participation in the event is free of charge. However, prior online registration is required to receive the Zoom credentials.