Read the online version | ISSN 2600-2558
  05 March 2021

Competition Weekly e-news

Cases, Judgments, News

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Commission invites stakeholders to provide comments on the application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed

The European Commission has launched today a public consultation to gather views and evidence from citizens, businesses, social partners, academia, government bodies and all interested parties as part of an initiative to ensure that EU competition rules do not stand in the way of collective bargaining by certain solo self-employed people.



Commission opens formal investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of Teva in relation to a blockbuster multiple sclerosis medicine

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether the pharmaceutical company Teva has illegally delayed the market entry and uptake of medicines that compete with its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The Commission will investigate whether Teva has abused a dominant market position in breach of EU antitrust rules.

State aid


Commission approves over €1 billion support for high-efficient cogeneration of electricity and heat in Slovakia

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Slovak plans to support the production of electricity from high-efficient cogeneration installations connected to district heating networks in Slovakia.



Commission approves French guarantee scheme mobilising up to €20 billion support from private investors for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a French State guarantee scheme to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme aims to provide long-term funding to companies and thereby facilitate new investments supporting recovery from the current economic crisis.



Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for early closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether German plans to compensate lignite-fired power plants for phasing out earlier than foreseen are in line with EU State aid rules.



Commission approves Danish support for Thor offshore wind farm project

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Danish support for the Thor offshore wind farm project, which will be located in the Danish part of the North Sea. The measure will help Denmark increase its share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources and reduce CO₂ emissions, in line with the European Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.



Commission v Fútbol Club Barcelona

The Commission takes note of the judgment by the Court of Justice to follow the Commission’s arguments and annul the decision by the General Court in relation to the Commission’s negative Decision of 2013 on State aid implemented by Spain in favour of certain football clubs.

See also Curia's press release.



Poste Italiane
The Commission takes note of the preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice on the compatibility with State aid rules and with the prohibition of abuse of dominant position (under Article 102 TFEU) of the pricing system for the banking activities rendered by law by Poste Italiane to private tax collectors for the payment of municipal taxes in Italy.

The preliminary ruling was rendered following questions referred by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation (Corte Suprema di Cassazione) on whether the pricing system for the banking activities in question involves State aid in favour of Poste Italiane under EU State aid rules and whether it is in line with Article 102 TFEU.

The European Court of Justice found that the banking services in question do not qualify as a service of general economic interest (SGEI) entrusted to Poste Italiane and therefore not all so-called “Altmark conditions” are met and a selective advantage may be present (i.e. the measure may potentially constitute State aid under EU rules). While finding that, prima facie, the banking service charges paid by private tax collectors do not necessarily involve State resources, the Court left it to the referring court to ascertain whether the conditions for the measure to constitute State aid under Article 107(1) TFEU, including the presence of a selective advantage and involvement of State resources, are met.

The question of whether the pricing system for the banking activities rendered in the circumstances of the case entails an abuse of dominance under Article 102 TFEU was declared inadmissible due to the lack of information provided by the referring court.


Commission v Italy and Others
The Commission takes note of the judgment by the Court of Justice of the EU which upheld the judgment by the General Court of March 2019 in this case. The General Court had annulled the Commission decision of 23 December 2015 concerning measures in favour of Banca Tercas.

The Commission will carefully study the judgment and reflect on its implications.

See also Curia's press release.
Public consultations

18/12/2020 - 26/03/2021

EU competition rules – revision of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation
The Vertical Block Exemption Regulation expires on 31 May 2022. The Regulation exempts agreements between different levels of the same supply chain from the EU’s competition rules.

In a business environment reshaped notably by the growth of e-commerce, this initiative aims to revise the rules to:
  • provide up-to-date guidance
  • cater for business needs in accordance with competition rules.
The aim is to have revised rules in place for when the current rules expire.

See also: EU competition rules – revision of the Vertical Guidelines.

22/01/2021 - 16/04/2021

Consultation on the Notice on the enforcement of State aid rules by national courts
Public authorities, citizens, companies and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from the national courts and authorities dealing with State aid, academics and lawyers.

23/02/2021 - 20/04/2021

Review of the Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI)
The evaluation of the Communication on important projects of common European interest undertaken in the context of the Fitness Check of State aid rules showed that the current provisions work well and are an effective tool to achieve the objective of facilitating the emergence of important projects of common European interest. However, some targeted adjustments are necessary ...

See also the Commission press release.

05/03/2021 - 28/05/2021

Collective bargaining agreements for self-employed – scope of application EU competition rules
This initiative aims to define EU competition law’s scope of application, to enable an improvement of working conditions through collective bargaining agreements – not only for employees, but also, under some circumstances, for the solo self-employed.

See also the corresponding press release.
New legislation
Antitrust   Mergers   State Aid
New Legislation    New Legislation    New Legislation 
'What's new?'    'What's new?'    'What's new?' 

Other relevant information:

Commission Decisions

SA Block exemptions

European Economic Area: EFTA State aid register, EFTA Block exemption information sheets and EFTA competition cases

Court: Judicial calendar of the Court

Miscellanea: European Commission Press corner: Latest Daily News and Base rates in force

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Published by the Competition Directorate General of the European Commission. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the above information.

© European Union, 2020. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.