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The EU has unveiled an ambitious plan to regulate online platforms, and the European Commission is proposing to introduce ex ante regulation to ensure that markets characterised by large platforms acting as digital gatekeepers remain fair and competitive for innovators, businesses, and new market entrants. The introduction of an ex ante regulatory framework that could limit online platforms' commercial freedom and give wide-ranging enforcement powers to regulators would be a far-reaching step. Against ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 8 June 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN). The proposal intends to repeal Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 in order to 'ensure a fair level playing field between European and third country air carriers’ (IA, p. 44), ‘with a view to maintain conditions conducive to a high level of connectivity ...

Competition policy

EU Fact Sheets 01-11-2017

Articles 101 to 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) contain rules on competition in the internal market, prohibiting anti-competitive agreements between undertakings. Businesses with a dominant market position must not abuse their position in a way which adversely affects trade between Member States. Mergers and takeovers with an EU dimension are monitored by the European Commission (‘the Commission’) and may be prevented in certain cases. State aid to given undertakings ...

Plans for gas pipelines in south-eastern Europe have experienced great upheaval in recent years, the result of business competition as well as the ongoing stand-off between Europe and Russia. The projects' advances and reversals reflect shifting strategies: those of new suppliers to find clients, those of traditional suppliers to conserve their markets and avoid regulatory impediments, and those of both suppliers and clients to ensure greater reliability. For many, this means planning to bypass Ukraine ...

The European Commission is pursuing a number of high-profile investigations in the competition area, highlighting the determination of the new team at the European Union's executive to be a tough enforcer of antitrust laws. Last month, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Google, alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services. In another Statement of Objections sent out in April, it alleges that some of Gazprom's business practices ...

Since 2013, China's anti-trust regulators have drastically stepped up the enforcement of China's competition law against foreign firms. Major EU and Japanese automobile companies have recently been heavily fined for alleged price-fixing and monopolistic conduct.

The aim of EU competition policy is to safeguard the Single Market by ensuring that enterprises can compete on equal terms. Competition policy encompasses a wide range of areas: antitrust and cartels, merger examination, state aid, the liberalisation of markets and international cooperation. Recent developments include the private antitrust damages actions directive, the recommendation on collective redress and complex modernisation of the state aid rules. Finding effective deterrents to cartels ...

Both the EU and the US have well-developed competition policies that aim to prevent and penalise anticompetitive behaviour. Although the EU and US systems share similar aims, there are a number of significant differences. The EU has an administrative system for antitrust enforcement, in which companies are penalised with fines. In contrast, US antitrust enforcement is based on criminal law, with financial and custodial penalties against individuals.

In view of the trialogue negotiations on the European Commission's two proposals for a regulation on market surveillance of products and on consumer product safety, this briefing note aims to contribute to and strengthen the EP's position on Article 7 of the proposal for a regulation on Consumer product safety relating to origin marking, and the provisions relating to sanctions and penalties proposed in both files. The briefing note presents a comparative table, showing provisions from the EU Customs ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying its proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework on the market access to port services and the financial transparency of ports (COM (2013) 296), submitted on 23 May 2013. It analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact Assessment Guidelines, as well as additional factors identified ...