Competition & EU

Competitive Edge: Competition & EU Law May 2022

Keeping you up to date on Competition & EU law developments in Europe and beyond


Read the full news letter here

In focus

The new competition regime for distribution in the EU: Opportunities for the decade ahead

The new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) provides for a general exemption from competition rules for all types of distribution agreements. On 10 May 2022 the EU Commission
published the final version of the VBER and its accompanying Guidelines. The new rules enter into force on 1 June 2022.

Our experts Pauline Kuipers, Ariane Le Strat and Joerg Witting have distilled the main changes of the new regime for you in this article. It not only highlights where businesses will need to adjust their distribution agreement to comply with the new rules and/or benefit from new exemptions, but also indicates where the Commission provides more room for a commercially flexible and tailored approach to the current challenges in omnichannel distribution structures.

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Updates from our jurisdictions


Adoption process for new EU rules to tackle foreign subsidies enters final stage

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For more information contact Hein Hobbelen, Samuel Berneman, Francine Cunningham or Chloe Birkett


Camping out for approval – ACCC publishes statement of issues regarding proposed THL acquisition of Apollo

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For more information contact Thomas JonesMatthew Bovaird or Patrick Cordwell


Up in smoke - Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposes EUR 36 million in fines on four major cigarette manufacturers for engaging in an information sharing cartel

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For more information contact Hein Hobbelen or Baptist Vleeshouwers


Beyond the boiling point – Companies and employees fined for coordinating prices for servicing natural gas furnaces

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For more information contact Morten Nissen or Alexander Brøchner


The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority proposes changes to the merger notification process

Read the full story 

For more information contact Maria Karpathakis or Katia Duncker


Cofepp has been fined 7 million euros for acquiring control of Marie Bizard Wine & Spirits without previously notifying the transaction or awaiting the decision

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French Competition Authority applies for the first time the “failing firm” exception to authorize a merger without commitment despite competition concerns

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For more information contact Thomas Oster or Claire Burlin


Omnibus Directive Strengthens Consumer Protection Rights

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For more information contact Dániel Arányi, Gábor Kutai or Rebeka Szopkó


When reaching land is too expensive: Italian ferry company fined for excessive pricing

Read the full story 

For more information contact Federico Marini Balestra, Lucia Antonazzi, Irene Minio or Chiara Horgan


Dutch competition watchdog ACM continues scrutiny of in-app payment services

Read the full story 

For more information contact Pauline Kuipers, Joost van Roosmalen or Daniëlle van de Vijver


Car importers change their practices as a result of a Polish Competition Authority investigation into repair practices in the automotive sector

Read the full story 

For more information contact Marcin Alberski or Stanisław Szymanek


The CNMC confirms its position on the marketing conditions of football broadcasting rights

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For more information contact Candela Sotés


The new UK competition law regime for vertical supply chain agreements – The VABEO

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For more information contact Saskia King, Ariane Le Strat or Amena Charles

Reforming competition policy: ready for lift-off

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For more information contact Saskia King and Chloe Birkett

Webinars, Events & Podcasts

Competitive Edge: The Podcast

Episode 6: Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations

In this 12-minute episode, competition lawyer Samuel Berneman (Associate, Brussels) and Chloe Birkett (Trainee, London) discuss the key developments on the eagerly awaited review and evaluation of the horizontal block exemption regulations, and the updated draft guidelines. The podcast covers sustainability, information exchange, and updates to the chapter on standardisation.

Click here to listen to the podcast

Webinar: Will the Data Act unlock value in the EU data economy?

(U.S. timezones)
Tuesday 24 May | 10:00 PDT / 13:00 EDT

The European Commission’s Data Act proposal was presented earlier this year.The proposal is part of the ‘Shaping Europe’s Digital Future’ strategy and will be an important building block for the digital economy in Europe. The Regulation sets common basic rules on who can use and access data across all economic sectors. It aims to create a Single Market for data in which this valuable resource is more accessible and can be shared without legal obstacles among European businesses and the public sector. Join Bird & Bird’s EU Regulatory & Public Affairs team for a presentation of the key elements of this far-reaching legislative proposal. Legal experts from our firm will also look at the Data Act's interplay with competition and data protection law. 

Register for the event here

Hybrid Event: Annual Conference on European Media Law 2022

2-3 June 2022
Hybrid: Trier + Online

The aim of this conference is to keep media law practitioners up-to-date by providing an overview of the latest policy developments, legislative initiatives and case law in this field. On June 3, our Competition & EU partner Anne Federle will present on digital advertising and data use from a competition law perspective.

Find out more

Local VBER seminar - Finland

7 June | 09:30 - 11:00 EEST

The new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation: changes in regulating distribution agreements

Uudistettu vertikaalinen ryhmäpoikkeusasetus – mikä muuttuu jakelusopimusten sääntelyssä?

The European Commission recently published the new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Guidelines due to come into force on 1 June 2022. The new regulation aims to help companies to better evaluate the compatibility of their distribution agreements with the competition rules.

In this seminar our specialists Katia Duncker, Jori Taipale and Maria Karpathakis will delve into the key changes affecting distribution agreements, focusing especially on the benefits of safe harbour. The seminar will be held in Finnish in our Bird & Bird office in Helsinki.

See the invitation (in Finnish) and register here

Local VBER webinar - the Netherlands

14 June | 3.30 – 4.30 CET

The new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation: changes in regulating distribution agreements

Ook voor onze Nederlandstalige cliënten organiseren wij een Webinar over de wijzigingen in de VBER. Dit Webinar is onderdeel van een serie Webinars georganiseerd door onze Retail & Consumer groep. De aankomende wijzigingen zijn niet alleen relevant voor ondernemingen in de Retail & Consumer sector maar uiteraard ook veel breder, voor alle ondernemingen die distributieovereenkomsten sluiten.

In this webinar on the new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Guidelines, our specialists Pauline Kuipers, Janneke Kohlen and Tialda Beetstra will delve into the key changes affecting distribution agreements, focusing especially on the benefits of safe harbour. The online webinar will be broadcasted in Dutch.

Please contact one of our specialists if you'd like to join us! 

Florence Competition Summer Conference – The Rise of Global Regulation of Online Platforms

13 - 14 June
Hybrid: EUI (Florence) + Zoom

Organised by the European University Institute (EUI) and the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this conference will gather academics, practitioners, officials from national competition authorities and EU institutions, as well as industry representatives to discuss the similarities and differences among ex-ante regulation for digital platforms currently emerging in Europe, in the United States and in Asia.

Bird & Bird Competition & EU partner Hein Hobbelen will participate in a panel discussing data portability and data sharing obligations.

Find out more

MyData 2022 Conference: Catalysing fair data solutions

21 - 22 June

MyData 2022 will bring together stakeholders representing Business, Legal, Tech and Social perspectives, which are all equally important for accelerating the human-centric policies and approaches to personal data. Our Legal Director Saskia King will present on Data protection and Competition law, while Principal Regulatory Counsel Feyo Sickinghe will focus on the DGA (Data Governance Act) and the DA (Data Act) in a session co-led with Francesco Vogelezang, Policy Analyst at the Open Future Foundation.

Find out more

EU Competition Law Summer School 2022

Monday 8 - Friday 12 August 2022
Downing College, Cambridge, UK

Competition & EU partners Peter Willis and Anne Federle will present at the Informa Connect EU Competition Law Summer School, covering the topics of mergers and hard core cartels.

Find out more

Bird & Bird news

HR Data Essentials: Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Monitoring Guide

Our International HR Services team has produced an EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity) comparative chart, providing you with guidance on collecting and processing EDI data lawfully.

Find out more and download the guide here 

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