The CMA has published its Annual Report on the UK’s concurrency arrangements, which came into effect in their current form in 2014.  Eight sectoral regulators have competition law powers in the UK, in addition to the CMA as the primary competition authority.[1] 

On June 1, 2023, the Commission published revised Research & Development and Specialization Block Exemption Regulations (“R&D BER” and “Specialization BER”, together the “HBERs”)[1] , as well as revised Guidelines on Horizontal Cooperation (“Horizontal Guidelines”).[2]  The new HBERs exempt certain agreements from the prohibition of Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (“TFEU”), subject to specific conditions, and accordingly create a so-called “safe harbor” for certain forms of horizontal cooperation.  Relatedly, the Horizontal Guidelines aim to guide undertakings in the interpretation and application of the revised HBERs, and thereby in their assessment of “various common types of horizontal cooperation agreements.”[3]

In a ruling dated May 4, 2023[1], the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) ordered interim measures against Meta following a complaint by Adloox, in light of suspicions that Meta was abusing its dominant position on the market for online advertising by imposing unfair conditions for accessing its ecosystem, thereby causing serious and immediate harm to both Adloox and other independent ad verification service providers.  These interim measures are imposed pending a decision on the merits of the case.  

On April 25, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a total fine of €2.95 million on Bongard and the members of its distribution network following a settlement procedure for their participation in two anticompetitive vertical agreements in the bakery and pastry equipment sector.[1]

On February 10, 2023, the French Constitutional Council (“Conseil constitutionnel”) considered that the second sentence of Article L. 464-2, I, paragraph 1 of the French Commercial Code, which provides that the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) may accept commitments in the context of antitrust litigation proceedings, but says nothing about its power to refuse them, complies with the French Constitution and, on this occasion, confirmed that companies can lodge appeals again FCA decisions rejecting suggested commitments.[1]

On March 2, 2023, Advocate General Rantos delivered his opinion on the questions referred to the Court of Justice by the Lisbon Court of Appeals (referring court) in Autoridade da Concorrência and EDP.[1]  The referring court seeks clarification on whether an association agreement between undertakings operating in different product markets can constitute an agreement with an anticompetitive object for the purposes of Article 101 TFEU,[2] and subject to what conditions.

On March 27, 2023, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced it would revise its 2008 Guidance on enforcement priorities regarding Article 102 TFEU[1] (the “2008  Guidance”).  The Commission has amended its 2008 Guidance in a Communication and Annex.  It has also launched a consultation seeking feedback on the adoption of new Guidelines on exclusionary abuses of dominance that the Commission intends to adopt in 2025 after publishing a draft in 2024.  While the amendments in the 2008 Guidance bring it closer to the case law, they show the Commission seeking more discretion and leeway in its investigations.

On March 23, 2023, the French Cour de cassation ruled that requests to restrict the French Competition Authority’s (“FCA”) communication actions relating to a fining decision qualify as applications for interim relief under Article L.464-8 of the French Commercial Code and therefore can validly be brought before the Paris Court of Appeals.[1]