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Seminar

Economic Analysis in EU Competition Policy

Current trends and future perspectives

Add to calendar 2022-05-19 13:00 2022-05-19 18:00 Europe/Rome Economic Analysis in EU Competition Policy Brussels Bird&Bird, Av. Louise 355 YYYY-MM-DD
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When

19 May 2022

13:00 - 18:00 CEST

Where

Brussels

Bird&Bird, Av. Louise 355

The Florence Competition Programme and Bird & Bird LLP invite you to join the 3rd Brussels Seminar. The seminar aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from national governments and EU institutions, along with industry representatives, to debate the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy.

The seminar aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from national governments and EU institutions, along with industry representatives, to debate the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy. During the event, the book recently published by Edward Elgar Publishing on this subject will be presented.

Background

During the past two decades, competition policy enforcement has been characterized by a greater role of economic analysis. In particular, the European Commission has progressively moved from a ‘legalistic’ approach, whereby certain market conducts were per se prohibited under Art. 101-102 TFEU, to a ‘more economic’ approach, whereby the Commission would assess on a case-by-case the anti-competitive effect of the contested behaviour on the consumers’ welfare, and it would take into consideration possible efficiency justifications too. After some initial reluctance, the EU Court of Justice has accepted the new enforcement approach: in Cartes Bancaires, Budapest Bank and Generics, the Court pointed out that a competition authority should normally assess an agreement as an effect restriction under Art. 101; the authority would face a higher burden of proof to investigate an agreement as an object restriction. Similarly, in Intel, the Court emphasized that the goal of EU competition policy is to safeguard the consumers’ welfare, rather than inefficient competitors, while in Post Danmark I the Court recognized that a dominant firm may put forward some efficiency arguments to justify abuse of dominance. While the recent case law of the EU Court of Justice has enhanced the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy, recent legislative developments seem to contradict this trend. The Digital Markets Act (DMA), in particular, defines a digital gatekeeper based on quantitative thresholds, such as the firm’s turnover and a number of users, rather than following a case-by-case assessment of the firm’s market power. In addition, Art. 5-6 DMA prohibit per se several behaviours by digital gatekeepers, without assessing the anti-competitive effect of the conduct and without considering any efficiency considerations.

The Brussels seminar aims at discussing recent trends and future developments in relation to the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy. In particular, the question is whether the EU Court of Justice case law indeed represents a ‘step forward’, while the DMA may be qualified as a ‘step backwards’ in relation to the role of economic analysis in EU competition policy.

Keynote Speaker

Olivier Guersent

European Commission, DG Competition

Practical information

The seminar is organized in a ‘hybrid’ format: invited speakers and attendees will follow the event in person, at the Bird&Bird office in Brussels. On the other hand, the audience may also follow the seminar via Zoom. Participation in the event is free of charge. However, prior online registration is required to receive the Zoom credentials.

Speakers

Marco Botta, EUI

Hein Hobbelen, Bird&Bird

Pier Luigi Parcu, EUI

Svend Albaek, European Commission, DG Competition

Viktoria HSE Robertson, University of Graz

Ginevra Bruzzone, Assonime and LUISS

Paulo Rocha Abecasis, Copenhagen Economics

Helen Ralston, Oxera

Marjolein Geus, Bird & Bird

Rosa Perna, ESA Administrative Tribunal

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