19 Jun, 2017

The Dawn of Dawn Raids or the Twilight of Due Process in Serbia?

In the last 10 days of May 2017, the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter: the Commission) has decided to roll up its sleeves and put a number of companies suspected of committing competition violations on its conveyor belt.  Unusually high number of unannounced inspections – conducted at the premises of B2M d.o.o., Grafo Trade d.o.o., Trgodunav d.o.o., Master Clean Express d.o.o., AD HI Panonija and Frikom d.o.o. – begs a question, why now?  By way of comparison, the Commission has used its powers to carry out dawn raids on business premises only six times […]

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13 Jun, 2017

Quarterly Review of Decisions Taken by Serbia’s Commission for Protection of Competition

During the first quarter of 2017, the Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia handed down a number of decisions in different areas of competition protection and recognized the necessity of conducting analyses of vital sectors such as telecoms, oil products and oil-derivatives: Restrictive agreements.  The Commission decided to investigate a close collaboration between two large players on the oil products market in Serbia.  On March 13, 2017, the Commission fined two direct competitors – Victoriaoil and Vital – for entering into a mutual cooperation agreement under which Vital agreed to outsource production and packaging of […]

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25 May, 2017

“Sharing Economy” in the Spotlight – Let’s Call a Spade a Spade, Says EU Advocate General on Uber

On 11 May 2017, Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Mr. Maciej Szpunar, issued a landmark opinion on legal qualification of Uber, the US ride hailing app, claiming that, from the perspective of the EU law, Uber should be characterized and treated as a transport company rather than as a mere information technology provider. The question that was posed to the EU highest court and that, according to Advocate General, needs to be assessed on a rather technical level, deals with Uber’s standing within the EU regulatory framework. Although non-binding, the opinion given by the […]

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04 May, 2017

Collaboration Without Notification? Certain Joint Ventures out of the Scope of EC Merger Regulation, Says CJEU Advocate General

On April 27, 2017, Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”),  Ms. Juliane Kokott, issued an opinion stating that not every creation of joint ventures ought to be under control of the European authorities: only formation of those joint ventures which are to be entirely autonomous, full-function entities should be subject to the official scrutiny. As per words of the opinion’s respected author, said issue, although technical in essence, holds a “practical significance” for national and European watchdogs on the one hand, and market undertakings, on the other, given that it tackles the matter of interpretation […]

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12 Apr, 2017

EU Competition: Third Time’s a Charm? Not if you Ask the European Commission

On March 29, 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) officially blocked the third attempt to implement the merger between the London Stock Exchange Group (“LSE”) and Deutsche Börse AG.  Said decision created an insurmountable obstacle to further cooperation of the two groups which was aimed at creating a European powerhouse able to compete with strong American and fast-emerging Asian financial markets. The long planned merger was to give rise to the world’s largest exchange by total income, the biggest for equities listings, and to an entity that would control more derivatives trades than any other entity in the world.1  It would […]

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31 Jan, 2017

Lufthansa/airberlin Secure a Green Light for the Wet-Lease Deal from the German Competition Authority

On January 30, 2017, the German competition authority (Ger. Bundeskartellamt) has decided to give final clearance to the implementation of the plan previously announced by two carriers, Lufthansa and airberlin, directed at the wet-lease of 38 aircrafts for the period of six years.  Under current state of affairs, there are no firm grounds for the subject agreement to be prohibited, since, as it was emphasized by Bundeskartellamt, it was not proven that it would in fact result in an actual distortion of competition.  In this context, apart from reaffirming the need for a presumption of competition violation to be proven […]

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23 Dec, 2016

The Highest Antitrust Fine to Date Issued in Serbia to EPS Distribution

Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition (the “Commission“) has fined EPS Distribution, a sole electric power distribution system operator, for the abuse of dominant position in the amount of 330 million RSD (cca EUR 2.7 million).  This is the highest antitrust fine imposed by the Serbian regulator. Having established the EPS Distribution indeed held dominant position, the Commission found several abuses of dominant position and in particular: As a result of non-transparent business policy, the company EPS Supply was placed in an advantageous position compared to competitors. Subject behavior was reflected in (i) the fact that unlike other suppliers, only EPS […]

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23 Nov, 2016

EU Competition Law: ‘Gun-jumping’ and the Russian Roulette is on!

On November 8 2016, the French Competition Authority (Competition Authority) imposed a fine in the dizzying amount of €80 million on Altice Luxembourg, a telecom-investment company, and its French subsidiary SFR on the basis of their ‘gun-jumping’ activities during the 2014 acquisition of SFR and Virgin Mobile.  After an unannounced probe, the regulator decided to institute said fine upon two companies in order to punish them for implementing their mergers prematurely, and to effectuate a deterrent for this type of antitrust activities among other companies. The unprecedented fine imposed on SFR and Altice is the first of its kind to […]

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22 Nov, 2016

Neutrality Everywhere? A Brief Look at the Chillin’Competition Conference 2016

For the second year in a row Chillin’Competition conference drew practitioners, scholars and regulators from across Europe with a promise of an unparalleled array of distinguished speakers focusing on the topic of the neutrality principle and its role in competition law. And it certainly delivered! Alfonso Lamadrid, one of the founders of Chillin’Competition blog (seen giving the opening remarks above), started the conference by stressing the importance of discussing the concept of substantive neutrality, its meaning and scope of application in different fields of competition law. Keynote Address – Margrethe Vestager Keynote speaker Margrethe Vestager, EC Commissioner for Competition, delivered a […]

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27 Sep, 2016

EU State Aid: European Commission Bitting More Than It Can Chew?

McDonald’s might be the next company facing the obligation to pay back taxes, only this time to Luxembourg, in the amount of approximately $500 million, according to Financial Times estimates. In December 2015, the European Commission has opened a formal investigation of Luxembourg’s tax treatment in case of McDonald’s. It held a preliminary view that “a tax ruling granted by Luxembourg may have granted McDonald’s an advantageous tax treatment in breach of EU State aid rules.”1  The Commission is yet to render a decision that would conclude said formal investigation against American fast food giant and contain its final judgment […]

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