Read the online version | ISSN 2600-2558
  26 March 2021
Due to Easter recess, issue #13/2021 will be issued on April 9th.

Competition Weekly e-news

Cases, Judgments, News

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Commission announces evaluation results and follow-up measures on jurisdictional and procedural aspects of EU merger control

The European Commission has published today a Staff Working Document that summarises the findings of the evaluation of procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU merger control. Following the results of the evaluation, the Commission decided to adopt a communication providing guidance on the application of the referral mechanism between Member States and the Commission set out in Article 22 of the Merger Regulation, and launch an impact assessment on exploring policy options for further targeting and simplification of merger procedures.



Commission clears acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments offered by EssilorLuxottica.

State aid


Commission approves €270 million Italian measure to support rail freight and commercial passenger operators affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €270 million Italian measure supporting both the rail freight sector and the rail commercial passenger sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.



Commission approves modification of Spanish schemes, including €10 billion budget increase for aid of limited amount, to further support economy in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modification of three existing Spanish schemes to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak to be in in line with the State aid Temporary Framework.



Commission approves €146.5 million Austrian support in favour of companies joining research and innovation project in microelectronics

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €146.5 million in Austrian support in favour of three companies joining the existing Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI') in microelectronics approved by the Commission in 2018. The public funding is expected to unlock an additional €530 million of private investments, i.e. more than three and a half times the public support.



Lundbeck v Commission
The European Commission takes note of the judgments by the Court of Justice (‘CJEU’) that fully upholds the Commission’s Lundbeck decision, and dismisses the companies’ appeals against the General Court judgments of September 2016.

The CJEU confirms that Lundbeck’s six pay-for-delay agreements concluded with four manufacturers of generic medicines regarding its anti-depressant medicine citalopram restricted competition by object.

The CJEU’s judgments provide useful guidance on how to determine when suppliers of generic medicines, which were engaged in patent disputes with Lundbeck, agree to stop competing, not due to the strength of the patent of the incumbent originator company, but because the incumbent bought them out of the market by payments or other commercial advantages.

Today’s rulings send strong signal that pay-for-delay agreements, which can significantly harm patients and health care systems, are unlawful under EU competition law.

See also:


Deutsche Telekom v Commission

The Commission takes note of the judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which fully uphold the General Court’s judgments of 13 December 2018 and dismiss the appeals lodged by Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom. The General Court had largely upheld the Commission's 2014 decision finding that Slovak Telekom and its parent company Deutsche Telekom had abused its dominant position on the Slovak wholesale market for local loop unbundling (LLU).

See also:



Student challenge – The popular vote is open

You can now vote for the winners of the Student challenge, part of the Competition policy contributing to the European Green Deal conference of 4 February 2021.

When the conference closed, university students were invited to take the Student challenge. We asked entrants to watch the conference (click here if you missed it) and answer this question: "What would you have talked about if you had been a speaker?"

Click here to read the 12 best abstracts we received and vote. You can vote until the end of 26 March at 24:00 hours. And don't forget to spread the news among your colleagues and friends.

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.

08/03/2021 - 05/04/2021

State subsidies – exemptions to approval requirement for the Green Deal and EU industrial and digital Strategies

Roadmap open for feedback:

National governments usually require EU approval for subsidies to domestic businesses, to avoid giving them an unfair advantage over other EU competitors.

Under the General Block Exemption Regulation, certain such subsidies can be exempt.


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.

26/03/2021 - 23/04/2021

Revision of certain procedural aspects of EU merger control
The initiative aims to improve the EU merger control procedures, without impairing effective enforcement. The goal is to make EU merger control more efficient and less burdensome in cases that are unlikely to raise competition concerns and to allow the Commission to devote more resources to those cases where a detailed investigation is required. To this aim, the initiative will explore options to further simplify the process in both simplified and, where possible, non-simplified merger cases.

See also EC 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, 2021. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.