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 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”).

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.

The UK Government’s response to its consultations on ‘Reforming competition and consumer policy’ (April 2022) confirmed the Government’s proposals to give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enhanced consumer law enforcement powers.

On April 12, 2022, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (“COFEPP”) 7 million euros for two distinct but related infringements, namely failing to notify a merger transaction (failure to notify) and implementing said transaction before merger control approval had been obtained (so-called “gun-jumping”).

On March 25, 2022, the French Conseil constitutionnel[1] held that the provisions of Article L.470-2, paragraph VII of the French Commercial Code, which provide for the cumulative enforcement of penalties imposed on the same person for multiple breaches regarding restrictive trade practices, are in compliance with the French Constitution.