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European Law

We are Stibbe European Law specialists

We have proven expertise in delivering pragmatic guidance and clear, workable solutions in all areas of European law.

European Law

By creating close working partnerships with our clients, we are able to guide them through the complexities of European law and create bespoke solutions to their particular situation.  

The broad spectrum of legal aspects we act upon include matters such as the free movement of goods, services and capital, competition law, customs law, secondary EU legislation, EU taxation, contract disputes, general EU principles and public tenders.

As part of our service, we assist clients with informal contacts with authorities as well as litigation before the national courts, the EU Commission and the General Court in various EU law areas.

Some of our actions lead to infringement procedures against Member States. In addition, we are regularly involved in preliminary questions to the Court of Justice on a variety of areas of EU law such as access to the EU courts, general principles of EU law, secondary legislation, unfair competition law and procurement law.

Moreover, we have provided legal services to the EU Commission and other EU institutions defending their interests in several procurement cases before the General Court and the Court of Justice.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Commission evaluates Antitrust Damages Directive: to be continued

Short Reads - On 14 December 2020, the Commission published a report on the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive (the Directive). The Commission observes a significant increase in antitrust damages actions since the adoption of the Directive. However, there is insufficient experience with the new Directive to properly evaluate its application. Instead, the Commission provides a concise overview of the implementation of some key aspects of the Directive.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Amsterdam District Court puts a halt to unlimited forum shopping

Short Reads - On 25 November 2020, the Amsterdam District Court (the Court) declined jurisdiction over all non-Dutch defendants (the foreign defendants) in proceedings for compensation of damage based partly on an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. The proceedings were initiated by four public utility companies from the Gulf States (claimants) against both Dutch and foreign defendants.

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03.12.2020 NL law
The next 5 years: European Commission launches New Consumer Agenda

Short Reads - Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission is already looking ahead to set its consumer protection priorities for the next five years. Key points in the New Consumer Agenda include equipping consumers with better information on product sustainability, digital transformation, effective enforcement, safety concerning products ‘made in China’ and protecting particularly vulnerable consumers such as children, older people or those with disabilities. The New Consumer Agenda is a follow-up to the 2018 New Deal for Consumers.

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05.11.2020 NL law
Belgian prohibition on abuse of economic dependence comes into force and new fining guidelines

Short Reads - In 2019, Belgium introduced legislation banning abuse in relationships between companies where there is no dominant position, but rather a position of economic dependence. The act entered into force on 22 August 2020. This category of restrictive practice applies alongside the existing prohibitions on cartels and abuse of a dominant position. It opens up new opportunities but also new threats for companies that are not in a dominant position.

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07.01.2021 NL law
ACM study calls for regulation of Big Techs on payment market

Short Reads - The ACM’s market study, published on 1 December 2020, provides an overview of recent and upcoming developments concerning the role of Big Tech companies in both online and offline payment markets in the Netherlands. Although Big Tech companies currently have a relatively limited presence in these markets, the ACM expects significant expansion in the near future given these companies’ ability to leverage existing market power on other (platform) markets.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Do the math: ACM publishes strategy on monitoring use algorithms

Short Reads - The ACM worries that the use of algorithms may lead to the creation of cartels, or nudge consumers towards a purchasing decision that is not in their best interest. Therefore, on 10 December 2020, it published a new policy document (in Dutch) setting out what businesses can expect when the ACM checks their algorithms. On the same day, the ACM also launched a trial with online music library Muziekweb to improve the ACM’s knowledge about the categories of data that are likely to be relevant in such investigations. All signs indicate the ACM’s intention to become more active in this area.

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03.12.2020 NL law
On the right track? GC sends mixed messages with Lithuanian Railways

Short Reads - The essential facilities doctrine imposes on holders of indispensable facilities a duty to deal with their competitors. While a railway track may seem essential, a track’s removal does not fall under this doctrine if carried out by a monopolist manager of a state-developed facility bearing a statutory obligation to grant third parties access to its facilities. According to the General Court, the Commission was therefore correct to use the general framework for abuse of a dominant position to assess the Lithuanian railway operator’s removal of a railway track.

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05.11.2020 NL law
Jurisdictional hide & seek: merger thresholds and buyer joint ventures

Short Reads - Companies beware: the turnover of a joint venture buying a target is not necessarily decisive for determining whether the EU merger thresholds are met. The General Court fully upheld the Commission’s 2017 decision prohibiting the joint acquisition of Cemex’s Hungarian and Croatian subsidiaries by cement companies HeidelbergCement and Schwen Zement through their full-function joint venture (JV).

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07.01.2021 NL law
(Geo)blockbuster: Canal+ ruling annuls commitment decision

Short Reads - A heads-up for companies seeking to settle in antitrust proceedings: commercially-affected third party complainants are not to be ignored. The Canal+ judgment marks the first time a commitment decision has been successfully challenged since the adoption of Regulation 1/2003. The European Court of Justice annulled the commitment decision on the ground that the Commission failed to take into account the rights of contractual parties affected by the commitments.

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05.11.2020 NL law
General Court confirms: no proof, no dawn raid

Short Reads - The Commission should think twice before conducting a dawn raid. The General Court partially annulled three Commission decisions ordering dawn raids at the premises of French supermarkets for a lack of sufficiently strong evidence with regard to one of the suspected anticompetitive practices. In addition, the General Court clarified that interviews held with suppliers prior to the issuing of a dawn raid decision can be used as evidence, even when these interviews have not been recorded.

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