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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18.02.2019 BE law
Plan-MER voor Vlaams windturbinekader? Raad voor Vergunningsbetwistingen te rade bij Europa

Articles - Het wordt stilaan een traditie van de Belgische rechter om het Hof van Justitie te bevragen over de milieueffectenbeoordeling en -rapportage (MER). Na de Raad van State en het Grondwettelijk Hof is het de beurt aan de Raad voor Vergunningsbetwistingen. In een tussenarrest van 4 december 2018 heeft de Raad voor Vergunningsbetwistingen aan het Hof van Justitie een lijst met prejudiciële vragen gesteld over de plan-MER-plicht van het Vlaamse kader voor de uitbating van windturbines. Mogen we ons verwachten aan een juridische saga "d'Oultremont pt.II"?

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07.02.2019 NL law
The need for speed in mergers is no reason to ignore rights of defence

Short Reads - On 16 January 2019, the European Court of Justice clarified the procedural guarantees the European Commission needs to provide to merging parties during merger reviews. According to the Court of Justice, the General Court (GC) had rightly annulled the Commission's decision to prohibit the merger of UPS and TNT. UPS's right of defence had been infringed because the Commission had failed to share the final version of the econometric model with UPS before adopting its prohibition decision.

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04.01.2019 NL law
Guess what, online branding restrictions are on the Commission's radar

Short Reads - Companies are probably aware of the Commission's eagerness to clamp down on online resale price maintenance and geo-blocking restrictions. The recent fine for vertical restraints by clothing company Guess marks a new dot on the Commission's radar. Restrictions on retailers using a supplier's brand names for online search advertising purposes are just as much a no-go.

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07.02.2019 NL law
The ACM follows EU approach in its first pharmaceutical merger

Short Reads - The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) recently reviewed its first merger between two pharmaceutical companies. In its conditional clearance of Aurobindo's acquisition of certain European Apotex assets, the ACM followed the European Commission's approach in assessing the merger's impact on competition. Companies will welcome the news that pharma mergers will be reviewed in a similar fashion, irrespective of whether the ACM or the European Commission conducts the review.

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07.02.2019 EU law
Digitisation and competition law: past, present and future

Short Reads - It is nearly time for the European Commission to reveal its course of action in digitisation and competition law. Feedback from a public consultation and the recent conference on 'Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation' together with the upcoming expert panel's report on the future challenges of digitisation for competition policy are likely to shape the Commission's course of action.

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08.01.2019 EU law
Belgium's Energy & Climate Plan - What is the legislative framework for climate policy in Belgium?

Articles - On 19 December 2018, Belgium adopted the first version of the National Energy & Climate Plan, which is a compilation of three individual climate plans from each of Belgium’s regions. It contains specific measures aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in Belgium by 35% by 2030 and to increase the share of renewable energy to 18.3%. The Plan will be submitted to the European Commission and, at the same time, presented to the population, stakeholders, parliaments, and neighboring countries.

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04.01.2019 NL law
Partial fine reduction for Deutsche Telekom and Slovak Telekom for abuse of dominance

Short Reads - The General Court recently clarified that to establish a margin squeeze in the case of positive margins, the Commission needs to prove the exclusionary effects of the dominant company's pricing practices. It also indicated that in cases of refusal to grant access, it is not always necessary to establish the indispensability of the access.

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07.02.2019 NL law
Follow-on cartel damages claim dismissed: don't bury courts under paper work

Short Reads - A recent ruling by the Dutch Court of Appeal confirmed that claimants will need to sufficiently substantiate their claim that they suffered loss due to a cartel, even in follow-on cases. Despite a presumption that sales or service contracts concluded during the cartel period have been affected by the cartel, claimants will still need to provide the courts with concrete, detailed and uncluttered information showing (i) which party purchased (ii) which products from (iii) which manufacturer for (iv) which amount, preferably with copies of the relevant agreements.

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22.01.2019 BE law
European Birds Directive: deviation schemes with varying success

Articles - Recently, both the Belgian and French Councils of State have expressed their views on the application of Article 9 of the Birds Directive. This article allows for a scheme that deviates from the prohibition to disturb, hunt, or kill protected bird species. At first sight, case-law of the Belgian Council of State seems to be stricter than that of the French Council of State.

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04.01.2019 NL law
Walking the tightrope between data protection and EU investigations

Short Reads - Two recent publications confirm that it is possible for companies to cooperate with a European Commission investigation and still comply with the data protection rules. It is also possible for the Commission to deviate from certain data protection obligations in the interest of a competition law investigation. The tightrope between data protection and Commission investigations may not be as rigid as initially feared.

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04.01.2019 NL law
General Court dismisses Canal+ appeal against pay-TV commitment decision

Short Reads - The General Court recently dismissed the appeal brought by Canal+ against the decision of the European Commission making the commitments of Paramount legally binding. In 2015, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections alleging that certain geo-blocking clauses in licensing agreements between film studios and pay-TV broadcasters had the object of restricting cross-border competition.

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