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Corona and EU Economic Law: journal article

Competition and Free Movement in Times of Crisis

Friso Bostoen, Nina Colpaert, Wouter Devroe, Joris Gruyters, Lennard Michaux, Liesbet Van Acker

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 4 (2020), Issue 2, Page 72 - 95

The outbreak of the coronavirus—and the responses of governments and businesses to combat the medical and economic crisis it entails—raise a number of urgent questions, many of which concern European economic law, ie the competition rules and free movement provisions. Can businesses cooperate to guarantee the supply of essential items or a vaccine notwithstanding the cartel prohibition of Article 101 TFEU? Is the excessive price doctrine of Article 102 TFEU a match for the price increases caused by hoarding behaviour? Can competition authorities continue to assess mergers, and might they even become more sympathetic to certain arguments such as the failing firm defence and industrial policy considerations? Under which conditions are Member States allowed to grant aid to undertakings that face economic difficulties due to the crisis? Can Member States prohibit the export of medical supplies to other Member States, and can they close their borders for European citizens? And how much freedom do public procurement rules leave governments to quickly conclude contracts for essential supplies? This article addresses these pressing questions in a comprehensive manner. It situates the numerous guidance documents adopted by the European Commission within the broader framework of EU economic law and then evaluates the compatibility of the public and private corona-related measures with that framework. The aim is to offer a legal guide for governments and businesses combatting the corona crisis. Keywords: corona; EU economic law; competition law; internal market law; public procurement



Blog Highlight journal article

Friso Bostoen

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 2 (2018), Issue 4, Page 316 - 319

In a press conference on 19 September 2018, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announced a preliminary investigation into Amazon. At the heart of the potentially abusive conduct is Amazon’s ‘dual role’. One the one hand, Amazon offers a marketplace for third-party sellers to offer their products to consumers. On the other hand, Amazon offers its own products through its marketplace. The Commission’s allegation appears to be that Amazon uses the data it gathers on third-party transactions to boost the sales of its own products. In this short note, I examine where the investigation is coming from, where it may be headed, and which related developments can influence it.


Most Favoured Nation Clauses: journal article open-access

Towards an Assessment Framework under EU Competition Law

Friso Bostoen

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 1 (2017), Issue 3, Page 223 - 236

It is often argued that most favoured nation clauses (MFNs) should be assessed on a case-by-case basis given the perceived lack of a coherent theory guiding their assessment. This article asks whether this is the case: do we lack an assessment framework of MFNs under EU competition law? In answering this question, regard is had to both older case law and the most recent developments. Taken together, most of the issues in assessing MFNs do appear to be generally agreed upon. Moreover, legal scholarship complements the theory where the courts and authorities did leave a question open. Thus, it is offered that we are indeed well on our way to a clear assessment framework of MFNs under EU competition law.

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