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Commercial Divisions of Public Entities and the Limits of EU Competition Law journal article

Jasper P Sluijs

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 3 (2019), Issue 3, Page 261 - 279

Competitive behaviour by public entities is generally approached in the literature as concerning the traditional State-owned enterprises pursuing public interest objectives. However, increasingly we see examples of commercial divisions of public entities aiming to generate revenue per-se. Because these commercial divisions can enjoy competitive advantages over their private sector competitors, their behaviour may distort competition. This phenomenon has become prevalent throughout the EU, and Member States tend to approach its anticompetitive effects through various competition law(-related) frameworks. This article points out, however, that a competition law framework may be ill-suited to address anticompetitive effects of commercial divisions of public entities. With an ill-functioning and diverging legal framework across the EU, anticompetitive effects of commercial divisions of public entities lead to an uneven playing field between public and private firms with adverse effects on the internal market. Keywords: Competition Law, Mixed Markets, State-owned Enterprises


The Perspective of the Bundeskartellamt in the Evaluation of Facebook's Behaviour: journal article

Prior Considerations and Possible Impact

Irene Lorenzo-Rego

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 3 (2019), Issue 2, Page 100 - 109

The abuse of a dominant position based on the collection and processing of personal data is a competition law issue under German law. The value of data is the value of advertising on social networks. Inadequate data processing by Facebook has harmed both users and potential competitors. The Bundeskartellamt has focused its recent decision on efficiency, despite its perspective on the application of Article 19(1) of the Act against Restraints of Competition, in accordance with German case-law. The impact on European competition law will depend on the controversial harmonisation of personality rights; so far, only data protection law has been regulated. Keywords: Access to Personal Data, Injured Party, Abuse of Dominance, Facebook, Bundeskartellamt, Competition Law, Data Protection


Competition Authorities’ Decisions and Antitrust Damages Actions journal article

Ignacio García-Perrote Martínez

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 3 (2019), Issue 4, Page 371 - 379

Private enforcers of competition law, especially the infringers’ direct and indirect purchasers claiming compensation for the damages suffered, must bring evidence of the existence of an infringement of competition law, the loss suffered, the causal relation between the infringement and the damage, and the specific quantum. The most challenging element to prove is the infringement itself. Given competition authorities’ investigation powers, their decisions become a crucial element to ease the claimants’ burden of proof and to make compensation possible. Keywords: Pre-emptive Administrative Ruling, Competition Authorities Decisions, Damages Actions, Competition Law Enforcement


The Paradox of Discretionary Competition Law journal article

Aaron L Nielson

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 2 (2018), Issue 3, Page 156 - 165

Jurisdictions around the world have been converging on a common analytical framework for merger review. Because the circumstances of proposed mergers (or combinations) are often idiosyncratic, the standards that competition authorities apply are flexible, thus providing economists with discretion to perform individualized, merger-specific analysis. Jurisdictions thus have moved away from—or declined to adopt in the first place—bright-line rules in favour of open-ended standards. This shift away from bright-line rules, however, may create a paradox: the very discretion necessary to achieve right outcomes is the cause of wrong ones. Although open-ended standards allow competition authorities to better tailor their analysis, they also empower them to act for pretextual reasons, especially in contexts for which politicized decision-making is most tempting such as the ‘online world.’ Likewise, even when a competition authority’s analysis is not pretextual, discretionary standards may make it more difficult for it to effectively rebut allegations of pretext. Hence, although doing so may introduce more imprecision into merger analysis, greater reliance on bright-line rules might nonetheless be justified. Keywords: Mergers, Discretion, Bias

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