Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)

Ciara Barbu-O’Connor

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
Lawyer (Associate)

Ciara Barbu-O’Connor is an associate in the Antitrust and Competition Practice Group in the firm’s Brussels office. Ciara is a member of the firm’s EU Competition & Regulatory practice and advises on all aspects of European, UK and Belgian competition law, including mergers, cartels, abuse of dominance as well as State aid across all sectors and industries. Her past experience includes work in the antitrust groups of other international law firms in Brussels and in the Directorate-General for competition of the European Commission where she worked on the transposition of the EU Directive for antitrust damages.

Linked authors

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)


997 Bulletin

Jacques Derenne, Dimitris Vallindas, Ciara Barbu-O’Connor The EU Commission adopts a series of measures implementing a flexible approach for approving urgent aid granted by member states to companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak


The unique EU State aid control law requires, in principle, prior notification by Member States and approval by the Commission of all State aid. During a time of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, EU law allows for a flexible approach for approving urgent State aid. In this post, we discuss (...)

606 Review

Jacques Derenne, Ciara Barbu-O’Connor Notion of SME: The European Court of Justice clarifies the definition of small and medium-sized enterprises within the meaning of the General Block Exemption Regulation, in particular the concept of independence in this context (NMI Technologietransfer / EuroNorm)


On 24 September 2020, the Court of Justice delivered a preliminary ruling (on a reference from the Berlin Administrative Court) on the definition of small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") within the meaning of Article 3(4) of Annex I to Regulation No 651/2014 declaring certain categories (...)

Jacques Derenne, Ciara Barbu-O’Connor Selectivity : The General Court of the European Union upholds decisions of the European Commission classifying the Spanish tax scheme as State aid incompatible with the internal market (Deutsche Telekom)


On 15 November 2018, the Tribunal delivered several judgements following the World Duty Free judgement of 21 December 2016 (cases C-20/15 P and C-21/15 P - see our commentary in ConcurrencesNo. 1-2017, pp. 153-163.), which had set aside two judgments of the Court of First Instance (Judgments of (...)

Ciara Barbu-O’Connor, Jacques Derenne Economic activity: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision of the European Commission assessing that State measures granted to health insurance regimes did not constitute State aids (Dôvera zdravotná poist’ovňa)


A Commission decision did not classify as State aid a series of Slovak measures (capital increase, debt repayment, grants and risk equalisation scheme) in favour of a Slovak health insurance organisation: according to the Commission, this organisation is not an undertaking within the meaning of (...)

Ciara Barbu-O’Connor, Jacques Derenne Serious difficulties: The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms the General Court of the European Union’s judgment by which the latter partially annulled a European Commission’s decision for an erroneous calculation method of the aid element of the litigious guarantees (Land Hessen / Pollmeier Massivholz)


Pollmeier Massivholz is a German company that operates several sawmills near the border of the state of Hesse. Background to the case In 2007, the Commission received a complaint from Pollmeier Massivholz alleging unlawful aid to support the establishment of a new sawmill in the Land of (...)


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