Nils Wahl (European Court of Justice)
The advocate General Wahl introduced the background to his opinion and the Court of Justice’s judgment in Cartes Bancaires. Before the Court of Justice was a European Commission decision on fees charged by Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, a French payment card association, on its members to avoid free riding and ensure interoperability. The Commission considered the pricing measures to restrict competition by object and the General Court upheld in full the decision.
The General Court considered it sufficient for a certain type of conduct to have a potential negative impact on competition for it to constitute a restriction by object. In his Opinion, Advocate General Wahl rejected this approach and found that that the content of the measures at issue did not present the degree of harm required by the case law to nd an anticompetitive object. He also considered that the economic and legal context can only exculpate and thus cannot establish an anti- competitive object where is it not clear from the content of the agree- ment that its object is to restrict competition.