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Nicolas Petit introduced the conference by recalling the pre-Covid-19 period when it was believed that 2020 would be the year for antitrust authorities to specify options for the regulation of online platforms. Surprisingly, the pandemic has seemed to accelerate the debate. Antitrust agencies have advanced at a breath-taking pace, and now seem to converge on a model of targeted regulation with asymmetric rules for gatekeepers. It now appears clear that some form of the new regulation is inevitable for these undertakings. Therefore, one may wonder what is left for discussion. That said, it is still possible to question the assumption that the debate is mature enough to act. And the models of asymmetric regulation in the discussion are not entirely similar among jurisdictions. Many questions need to be answered. First, is classic antitrust insufficient and is it necessary to adopt a regulatory framework ? Second, as the European Commission has proposed to adopt a New Competition Tool (“NCT”), what should be the scope of this initiative and should National Competition Authorities (“NCAs”) add it to their toolbox ? The NCT has been criticised but it allows the preventive intervention of competition authorities while avoiding twisting established antitrust concepts in conduct cases.
Isabelle de Silva started her presentation with a question : Is it really necessary to choose between renovating competition law and adopting platform regulation ? In fact, those two options are complementary : tools of competition law are being modernised while regulation is moving forward.