Heike Schweitzer holds a chair for private law, economic law and competition law at the Humboldt-University, Berlin. Before, she was professor at the Freie Universität Berlin (2014-2018), at the University of Mannheim (2010-2014) and at the European University Institute in Florence (2006-2010). She has published widely in the field of European and German competition law, including state aid law and regulatory law. Recently, her research has focused on the economic and legal implications of digitisation. From April 2018 – March 2019, Heike Schweitzer has acted as special advisor to Commissioner Vestager on future challenges of digitisation for competition policy. Together with Martin Schallbruch and Achim Wambach, she co-chaired the German governmental Commission “Competition Law 4.0”. Also, she advised the German Economic Ministry on the reform of the regime of abuse control in the context of the 10th amendment to the German Competition Law.
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A frequent starting point of the ongoing debates on a future platform regulation – in the EU in the form of a “Digital Markets Act” (DMA) – is the alleged ineffectiveness of competition law enforcement in the digital realm, and in particular when it comes to “abuse of dominance” or monopolization proceedings against the largest digital platforms. This paper aims to do add to this debate in two ways: In a first part, it provides a rough overview of the competition law cases on unilateral practices in digital markets that have been initiated and partly completed over the last 10 years or so, with a strong focus on cases against large digital platforms. While there is a focus on the EU and its Member States, the overview also looks at relevant cases in other jurisdictions like the U.S., Australia, India, Russia and China in order to give an impression of the global enforcement dynamics. The overview – which is mostly based on the Concurrences database, with only some additional research on our part, which is by necessity selective – does not dive into a discussion of the merits of the cases. Rather, it is meant to systematize the enforcement actions and to provide a clearer picture when, where and why action has been taken on which grounds. A second part strives to draw some tentative conclusions from this overview against the background of ongoing policy debates. Has enforcement indeed been intolerably slow? Does the enforcement panorama indicate what’s special about ensuring undistorted competition in the presence of gatekeepers and why we might need a special regime of platform regulation? Does it tell us something about the optimal scope of such a regulation, and about the interaction of competition law, the law on unfair business terms and consumer protection law in the digital realm? Does it hold insights about what we can expect from public and private enforcement respectively?
I. Commitment decisions under Article 9 of Reg. 1/03 Commitment decisions are a relatively new instrument of competition law enforcement: They were introduced into EU competition law by Regulation 1/03 to provide the Commission with a tool to handle certain complex competition cases quickly (...)
This section selects books on themes related to competition laws and economics. This compilation does not attempt to be exhaustive but rather a survey of themes important in the area. The survey usually covers publication over the last three months after publication of the latest issue of (...)