On September 26, 2022, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action published a draft of the Competition Enforcement Act which will amend the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”) for the 11th time (“Draft 11th Amendment”).[1]  The aim of the Draft 11th Amendment is to strengthen the Federal Cartel Office’s (“FCO”) enforcement powers beyond the existing enforcement of antitrust and abuse of dominance violations. 

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has endorsed a “one-time temporary cooperation project” of Germany-based sugar manufacturers Nordzucker, Südzucker, Pfeifer & Langen and Consun Beet to coordinate capacities for the processing of sugar beets from September 2022 to March 2023 in light of the dawning gas supply shortage.[1]

On July 12, the CMA published its final guidance (the Guidance) accompanying the UK’s block exemption for vertical agreements (VABEO).[1] 

In a significant judgment rendered on July 13, 2022 (“Judgment”), the EU’s General Court validated the position taken by the European Commission (“EC”) in a March 2021 Guidance Paper encouraging national competition authorities (“NCAs”) to use Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”) to refer transactions to the EC that do not meet national merger control thresholds, but which they believe may threaten to significantly affect competition within the EU.

On July 14, 2022, Advocate General Rantos delivered his opinion in Unilever on two important questions referred to the Court of Justice:[1] (i) whether companies linked by contractual ties could constitute a “single economic unit”; and (ii) whether the Court of Justice’s ruling in Intel, that antitrust agencies must examine evidence put forward by the defendant that conduct is not capable of foreclosing equally efficient competitors, applies to practices beyond the exclusivity rebates considered in Intel.[2]

On 30 June 2022, the EU institutions reached political agreement on a new regulation which will allow the European Commission to control non-EU government subsidies given to businesses active in the EU (the “Regulation”).

On July 12, 2022, the Commission fined metal packaging producers Crown and Silgan €31.5m for breaching Article 101 TFEU by exchanging sensitive information and coordinating their commercial strategies for the sale of metal cans and closures in Germany over a three-year period.[1] The products concerned were metal lids for glass jars, coated with lacquers containing bisphenol A (“BPA”) or BPA-free lacquers and metal cans coated with BPA-free lacquers. These products were predominantly used to package foods, such as vegetables, fruit, meat, and fish.

Introduction

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published a Discussion Paper and accompanying Evidence Review on “Online Choice Architecture” (OCA). This provides a helpful overview of the CMA’s approach to analysing choice architecture, recognising that some practices are likely to be harmful to consumers but others may be beneficial.