European Commission

04 Dec, 2017

3rd Chillin’ Competition Conference in Brussels – A Big League Success

Another year, another Chillin’Competition Conference Imagine for a second a conference where a bunch of “suits”, seasoned scholars and world-recognized experts & regulators spend an entire day laughing, exchanging quips & smug comments and trading Ryan Gosling and SpongeBob SquarePants inspired meme mugs.  Well that’s exactly what happened when over 350 scholars and practitioners of law & economics came together on October 25, 2017 at the Area 42, the “MOST WOW!” venue in Brussels.  Alfonso Lamadrid de Pablo and Pablo Ibañez Colomo, the driving force behind Chillin’Competition blog, world’s favorite source for the latest and greatest in competition law, have once again […]

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29 Nov, 2017

The European Union Twists Amazon’s Arm – a Warning for Multinationals in Serbia?

The European Commission has recently concluded that Luxembourg has been granting an undue tax benefit to Amazon in the total amount of EUR250 million. Since Serbian tax authorities have the power to issue binding advance tax opinions—and given that multinationals commonly exploit this option without any consideration of state aid rules—the Commission’s Decision in the Amazon case should raise some eyebrows. The European Commission (Commission) continues its battle against alleged tax avoidance and has recently concluded that Luxembourg has been granting an undue tax benefit to Amazon in the total amount of EUR 250 million. This tax benefit was awarded […]

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16 Nov, 2017

The Energy Community Recognizes “Serbian Menarini”

The Energy Community, the quintessential energy organization aiming to extend EU’s internal energy market and EU acquis to southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region, and create an integrated & sustainable pan-European energy market, recently published its 2016/2017 Annual Implementation Report (Report) (available for download), where it officially acknowledged our ongoing constitutional challenge against the Serbian Competition Act, secondary legislation and general regulations.  The report does a noteworthy job in properly identifying some of the key arguments set out in the constitutional challenge, particularly the criminal nature of competition proceedings, lack of procedural safeguards required by the ECHR, and that the […]

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08 Nov, 2017

Gecić Law Advises in Yet Another Landmark Decision Before the European Commission

Gecić Law acted as legal counsel to the Government of Serbia and the Železara Smederevo steel mill with respect to an European Commission (EC) investigation on the historical State aid received by the old company, and the potential responsibility of Hesteel Serbia to reimburse it, under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).  On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, informed the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, that the European Commission concluded that “the HeSteel-owned steel mill does not have to reimburse any state aid received in the past” (link).  […]

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25 Sep, 2017

New Hope for Troubled CHF Borrowers?

On September 20, 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU“) issued so far the most significant judgment concerning the loans denominated in Swiss francs (the “CHF”). Namely, by judgment in case C-186/16 (Ruxanda Paula Andriciuc and Others v. Banca Românească SA), the CJEU ruled that a financial institution which grants a loan denominated in a foreign currency is liable to provide the borrower with sufficient information, in order to enable him to make a thorough assessment of economic risks and consequences of entering into such contract, and to make a prudent decision on this issue. The […]

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05 Sep, 2017

When sharing is not caring: exchange of information in M&A transactions and Serbian competition law

This update considers how exchange of information, as an essential part of any M&A transaction (from pre-acquisition discussions, through the due diligence procedure, and up to the closing of the transaction), may cause significant competition concerns under the Serbian Competition Act in terms of potential collusion between competitors. The prohibition on entering into restrictive agreements under the current Serbian Competition Act (CA) applies, as a general rule, to sharing of commercially sensitive information between undertakings. Relevant provisions of the CA prohibit contracts, certain contract provisions, express or tacit agreements, concerted practices, as well as decisions of undertakings associations which have […]

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02 Sep, 2017

Serbian Chamber of Commerce Proposes Total Revamp of Serbian Competition Law?

Recent developments in Serbia, in particular an unprecedented number of hastily opened investigations and Competition Commission’s push for a complete revamp of the competition act, discussed in a recent PLC article “The Dawn of Dawn Raids or the Twilight of Due Process in Serbia?”, raised many eyebrows and prompted significant dissent from both public and private stakeholders.  The widespread dissent took an interesting twist on August 21, 2017 when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (hereinafter: the Chamber of Commerce) issued an invitation for consultations to the members of its Assembly and Managing Board re the application and […]

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10 Jul, 2017

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

During the last ten days of May 2017, Serbian competition authority has hastily opened an unprecedented number of investigations.  Simultaneously, the authority announced a push for a complete revamp of the competition act.  Reviewing these developments through the lens of the New Administrative Act, which came into force on 1 June 2017, a strong argument can be made that behind these actions is a desire to circumvent the robust human rights safeguards introduced by the New Administrative Act and guaranteed under the ECHR and the Serbian Constitution. During the last ten days of May, the Commission for Protection of Competition of […]

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26 Jun, 2017

Thresholds for Merger Control in Serbia – a Treasure Island of False Positives?

The Serbian 2009 Protection of Competition Act (as amended in 2013) (the Act) provides for rather low merger control thresholds, compared both to EU law and countries in the region. Thresholds set this low can (and usually do) result in excessive merger control which eventually brings more harm than good to market competition.  In order to put an end to this, a change in decisional practice and/or legislative change in regards to this important aspect of merger control is required. The Act provides for rather low merger control thresholds, compared both to EU law and countries in the region.  Namely, […]

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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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