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After 19 Years of Complete Oblivion, Are Interim Measures the European Commission’s New Panacea to Enforce Article 102 TFEU in the Digital Age? journal article

Richard Masquelier

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 5 (2021), Issue 1, Page 24 - 35

Over the past few years, fast-moving markets have brought major concerns to competition law in the digital age: speedy solutions are needed to efficiently address situations in which companies become monopolistic after the market has tipped. One existing legal instrument emerged as a solid and plausible solution: the interim measures to prevent harm to competition while an investigation is on-going. The starting point of this paper finds its roots in the Commission’s decision to impose interim measures on Broadcom in 2019, after almost two decades of complete oblivion of this instrument. Two questions arise from this sudden awakening: why was it neglected by the Commission and should it be overhauled? This article delves back into the relevant case law and legislation to critically ascertain the qualities and flaws of interim measures in order to explain their possible revival. Through their respective application of the tool, as well as their variable desire to impose interim measures, national competition authorities have also shed an interesting light on this topic. Finally, it remains to be seen whether the recent Commission proposals for a Digital Market Act (DMA), which aims at preventing abusive conduct by digital gatekeepers with upfront obligations, will leave much space for such interim measures in the future. Keywords: interim measures; remedies; Article 102 TFEU; procedure; European Commission

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