EU New Competition Tool : A paradigm shift in competition rules for the digital economy and beyond ?

Webinar of the "Law & Economics" Series organised by Concurrences, in partnership with Freshfields and Compass Lexecon, with Marieke Scholz (Deputy Head of Unit - Antitrust case support and policy, DG COMP), Timothy Lamb (Director - Competition & Regulatory, Facebook), Alastair Chapman (Partner, Freshfields) and John Davies (Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon).

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Alastair Chapman opened the webinar by giving the participants to the webinar some background information on the EU’s new competition tool and introducing the panellists. The European Commission’s consultation on a new competition tool closed earlier in October. Many preliminary questions remain unanswered, including first, is there an enforcement gap which justifies that the adoption of a new tool, or are existing instruments sufficient to address the issues identified by the Commission? And second, what should be the legal standard be to determine that an issue has arisen and conducted an investigation? Mr Chapman also stressed that businesses have been keen to be given clarity on the scope of application of the new competition tool, especially whether it would be limited to digital markets or whether it would be of more general application. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether the new competition tool would be used as a last resort, or whether it could be used instead of existing enforcement mechanisms, such as those available under Articles 101 and 102. The impact assessment suggested that the European Commission might be able to use the new competition tool when it deems that other tools would be less effective. However, given that the new competition tool allows the imposition of remedies without a finding of illegality, the Commission might, in fact, resort to the new competition tool rather frequently, and perhaps to the detriment of existing, more tightly constrained powers. Finally, Mr Chapman emphasised the call for reassurance on the length and cost of investigations, as well as the applicable checks and balances to safeguard the rights of those affected, including their recourse to judicial (or another kind of) oversight.

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  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
  • European Commission (Brussels)
  • Compass Lexecon (Paris)
  • Meta (London)