LEGAL PRACTICE: PROCEDURES - REJECTION - NCA - COMPETENCE - NATIONAL COMPETITION LAWS - EFFICIENCY - ECN

Article 13 of Regulation 1/2003 animated

Article 13 of Regulation 1/2003 entitles a national competition authority or the Commission to suspend proceedings or reject a complaint on the grounds that the same agreement, decision of an association or practice brought to its attention, is being dealt, or has already been dealt with, by another competition authority. Although Article 13 of Regulation 1/2003 has been in place for more than a decade, and the Notice on cooperation within the Network of Competition Authorities has set out the Commission’s understanding of the provision, the General Court had the opportunity to throw light on the scope and application of that provision only recently. With the rulings in Si.mobil, VIMC, easyJet and Trajektna luka Split d.d., the General Court upheld respectively four Commission rejection decisions, the first three based on Article 13 and the fourth one based on Article 7 of Regulation 733/2004. The article examines the four rulings with a view to highlighting the approach taken by the General Court and exploring the boundaries of Article 13. The author argues that with these rulings, the General Court enables national competition authorities and the Commission to rely more effectively on each other’s assessment of the same practices, avoid duplication of work and save administrative resources that can be employed for other purposes beneficial to consumers. Finally, a proposition is made that Article 13 can and should be used also in scenarios in which the same practice has been reviewed by a national competition authority on the basis of national competition laws, provided that these laws are equivalent to Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. [1]

I. Introduction 1. The decentralisation of the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU introduced by Regulation 1/2003 increased the effectiveness of competition law enforcement in the EU. The empowerment of national competition authorities (“NCAs”) to apply Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, in parallel with the Commission, ensures that markets and business practices are watched closely and taken care of by the most appropriate authority. [2] 2. The Union courts have recognised that for the Commission to effectively perform its task of ensuring the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and of giving orientation to EU competition policy, it has to be entitled to give differing degrees of priority to the complaints brought before it and to reject those which do not display a sufficient

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Ekaterina Rousseva, Article 13 of Regulation 1/2003 animated, May 2018, Concurrences Review N° 2-2018, Art. N° 86514, www.concurrences.com

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