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European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

ENTraNCE for Judges 2021: annual gathering for European competition law judges

From 29 September to 1 October, over thirty national judges from the EU Member States actively dealing with competition law cases gathered at the EUI and online for the final workshop of ENTraNCE 2021 - the European Networking and Training for National Competition Enforcers.

05 October 2021

ENTraNCE is the training course on EU competition law enforcement addressed to European national magistrates, organised by the Florence Competition Programme and co-financed by the European Commission - Directorate-General for Competition. Since 2011, more than 350 selected judges from the member states and neighbouring countries have participated in ENTraNCE to deepen their knowledge of EU competition law and economics and share their experiences on the subject.

Professor Pier Luigi Parcu, the Project Director, synthesises the training aim: “Competition law is a highly specialised legal field of EU exclusive competence where economic theories intertwine with legal norms. Accordingly, EU law updates and solid economics foundations are crucial to judges facing competition law cases. That is where ENTraNCE comes into play, answering the judges’ needs.”

The Training Structure

ENTraNCE has two key activities. Early in the year, selected judges meet at the EUI for three days of lectures by leading competition law scholars. After the residential training, each judge submits a short commentary – a so-called case note – on a judgement of his domestic jurisdiction dealing with competition law. Then, in Autumn, the participants present their case notes to their peers and academic discussants at the final workshop hosted at the EUI. Lastly, the ENTraNCE project team reviews the case notes and publishes them in a RSC working paper.

In addition, every year, invited participants and speakers contribute chapters to an edited book, published by Edward Elgar, on the recent competition law enforcement trends at the EU and domestic level. While the working papers include single case notes, the ENTraNCE books adopt a comparative perspective, analysing the specific competition law issues that emerged during each ENTraNCE edition from a cross-country perspective.

The 2021 Edition: Digital Markets

The 11th edition of ENTraNCE focused on digital markets and their challenges to competition law enforcement, especially by national courts. Digitalisation changes the way we live, innovating every sector of the economy. In so doing, it also challenges traditional competition law parameters. Take prices, for example. Many digital services offered by several digital firms seem free of any price. Nevertheless, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch; the user cedes parts of its data to the provider in exchange for the service. The double challenge of applying highly specialised competition law to novel and rapidly evolving digital practices called for this year’s ENTraNCE topic.

The case notes presentations covered a variety of antitrust topics from cartels to sanctions and damages and sparked vivid debates as natural consequences of the judges’ diverse legal cultures. The final workshop featured keynote speeches by competition law experienced judges.

The FCP team is already working on the next edition of ENTraNCE and soon competition law judges will save the date for ENTraNCE 2022. See you next year!

Last update: 26 January 2022

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