Crossroads in EU Competition Law: green light or stop sign for non-economic goals?

Crossroads in EU Competition Law: green light or stop sign for non-economic goals?

On the 6th of September, Reuters broke the news that the U.S. Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation in the voluntary agreements on emission standards between four automakers and the State of California. This probe should be viewed in the light of a larger bureaucratic conflict. As part of its general deregulatory program, the Trump Administration is planning to […]

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

The interest of national competition authorities in the matter of online platforms and competition law is becoming increasingly visible. In the case of the Dutch competition authority this growing interest has recently resulted in a call for introducing ex-ante enforcement tools in the context of online platforms. Although the idea may indeed be constructive for the adaption of the current […]

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

The 17th of July has been quite the day for Amazon, at least when it comes to antitrust. Firstly, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has closed its abuse of dominance proceedings against Amazon in return for concessions from the online marketplace. Secondly, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon. This […]

Audit and consulting services sector to face ‘unbundling’ by competition laws?

Audit and consulting services sector to face ‘unbundling’ by competition laws?

Lately in Europe, international accounting and consulting firms have been facing a number of legal issues due to infringements of audit, finance and competition laws. After a market study, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published proposals for improvements in the auditing sector; among them, legislative amendments to split up auditing from consulting services. This ‘unbundling’ of activities […]

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The MFN cases of the past few years have delivered a series of uncoordinated cases that created a fragmented approach towards MFN clauses. Nowadays it would appear that there is a growing consensus in Europe that wide MFN clauses should be prohibited which, also led major platform like Expedia to abandon these pricing strategies. The recent claim put forward by […]

U.S. antitrust agencies divide jurisdiction over Big Tech and single out Google for investigation

U.S. antitrust agencies divide jurisdiction over Big Tech and single out Google for investigation

Last year, I wrote about how the United States considers boarding the tech regulation train that has been racing through Europe. It seems that they have now taken another decisive step in that direction: the U.S. antitrust agencies have agreed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will oversee investigations of Google and Apple, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is […]

Collusive conduct in financial instruments trading: a look at the issues of dealing via chatrooms

Collusive conduct in financial instruments trading: a look at the issues of dealing via chatrooms

Following the benchmark currency rate manipulation scandal, the banking sector has had no chance to restore their reputation. Lately, major EU banks have been having competition law issues because of their traders’ collusive behaviour in the bond and global foreign exchange (FX) markets. Two Statements of Objections concerning bond cartels and collusive conduct by certain traders have been issued recently […]

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

Are settlement proceedings the poor relation of EU antitrust policy?

Are settlement proceedings the poor relation of EU antitrust policy?

Leniency and settlement policies are crucial antitrust enforcement tools. They reward defendants’ cooperation and seek to reinforce effectiveness in law enforcement by replacing a non-cooperative equilibrium with a more cooperative dynamic between defendants and competition enforcers. As recently acknowledged by the OECD, settlements are picking up, and becoming an essential aspect of antitrust enforcement. Accordingly, a significant challenge of every […]