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 18, the European Council approved the final text of the DMA, marking the final step before the DMA enters into force.  This followed the European Parliament approving, on July 5, the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), by 588 votes to 11.  The DMA is likely to enter the EU’s Official Journal in October, which means the behavioural rules will kick in early-to-mid 2024.

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.

On July 6, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its annual report for the year 2021.[1] In particular, the report highlights (i) the key figures of the FCA activity in 2021, (ii) the reinforced investigative powers of the FCA and (iii) the roadmap for 2022-2023.

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 June 30, 2022, the European Commission (“EC”) launched a public consultation seeking feedback on the performance of Regulation 1/2003[1] and Regulation 773/2004[2] (the “Regulations”), which govern the enforcement procedure of EU antitrust law.[3]  Interested parties are invited to provide comments by October 6, 2022.

Background

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and telecoms regulator (Ofcom) recently published a joint paper setting out their advice to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on new rules for digital platforms’ use of publishers’ content.