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See version in english Christine VARNEY, DOJ: A new Assistant Attorney General for the US DoJ

INTERVIEW

Christine VARNEY, DOJ : A new Assistant Attorney General for the US DoJ

- Do you have views about the evolutions of the EU Commission competition policy enforcement ? With a Progressive Democratic Administration now in power in Washington and a Conservative European People’s Party-backed EU Commission at Brussels, how far do you think that we are likely to achieve a transatlantic convergence on Antitrust and Competition Law and Policy ? If there are limits to such convergence, in which areas do you foresee the persistence of differences ? *

- Can you tell us more on your academic background and your exposure to Antitrust ? What led you to devote your career to such a branch of Economic Law ?

- To turn to in-depth antitrust but to keep a political course, in your first speech before the Center for American Progress, you have made remarks on the contribution of Antitrust for the Americans in a time of Economic Crisis and you evoked the Great Depression period. President Obama has also made strong statements with regard to the reinvigoration of Antitrust under a Democratic Presidency. Can you give us a broad outline of your Antitrust Agenda for America in the present day crisis ?

- You have been a Commissioner at the US FTC as mentioned earlier. Can you explain to European readers what main differences you see between the Antitrust Division and the FTC ? Do you need to differentiate your action as Head of the Antitrust Division or do you favor a converging approach with FTC ?

- We have noticed the very diverging and dissenting views expressed by a majority of the FTC Commissioners, including its Chairman, in the last months of the Bush Administration vis à vis a DOJ Report on unilateral conducts. Can you tell us more on that divergence and what course of action you have decided to follow to ease the tension between the Agencies, and maybe the differing philosophies of Antitrust between Republicans and Democrats ? Do you foresee in particular amicus briefs in any major case pending before the US Supreme Court ? When President Obama was a candidate, there were mentions of possible Democratic bills in the area of Antitrust. Can you tell us more on such legislative work already ?

- During the Presidential campaign we also noted the sharp title of a major contribution to political debates by a team assembled by former FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. That team has produced a very dense and well documented book with a strongly worded title : “Why Chicago overshot the mark, the effects of Conservative Economic Analysis on Antitrust.” You mentioned this book in your first speeches as AAG in charge of the Antitrust Division. What are the main points made by this team that you would consider as most inspiring to determine your priorities for future action ?

- Given the fact that President Obama has set up a new Commission to protect consumers from operators of the finance industry and given the responsibilities of this industry in the origins of the present Economic Crisis, do you foresee specific antitrust actions in the area of banking and insurance in the United States ?

- During the Presidential Campaign, it has been said that a Democratic Administration would launch some emblematic cases on market power abuses in the area of intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and the multimedia sector. What are the views of a Democratic Administration now in power with respect to these objectives ?

- To turn to international Antitrust, can you tell us about your priorities for Antitrust in a world that is deeply affected by the Economic Crisis ?

- You were appointed in April 2009 Assistant Attorney General, head of the Antitrust Division at the US Department of Justice. You have also held the position of Commissioner at the US Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton Administration. And you are a highly respected lawyer in the Washington Private Practitioners Community. What has led you to exercise twice such high ranking positions in the Public Service and leave a successful career in the Private Practice ?

* On this issue, see also : Mario Monti, Antitrust : The USA are shifting towards the EU, Concurrences, N° 3-2009, n°28149, pp. 1-2

Interview réalisée par François Souty, DRCCFR, Nantes.

April 2009 Assistant Attorney General, Head of the Antitrust Division at the US Department of Justice Sept. 1997 to April 2009 Partner, Hogan and Hartson Partner in the antitrust, competition, and consumer protection practice Oct. 1994 to Aug. 1997 Federal Trade Commissioner 1989 to 1992 General counsel to the Democratic National Committee 1977 B.A. at the State University of New York at Albany INTERVIEW You were appointed in April 2009 Assistant Attorney General, head of the Antitrust Division at the US Department of Justice. You have also held the position of Commissioner at the US Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton Administration. And you are a highly respected lawyer in the Washington Private Practitioners Community. What has led you to exercise twice such high

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Christine Varney, Christine VARNEY, DOJ: A new Assistant Attorney General for the US DoJ, December 2009, Concurrences Review N° 4-2009, Art. N° 29153, www.concurrences.com

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