In light of the recent media reports on possible cartel allegations against German car manufacturers, our partner Anna Blume Huttenlauch was interviewed by Deutsche Welle on the fine line between legal cooperations among competitors and illegal collusion as well as potential fines and other liability risks for companies involved in cartels.read more
The failure of the Doha Round and other multilateral efforts to liberalise trade has led to international trade policy occurring mainly on a bilateral level. The EU in particular has followed an active commercial policy in recent years. The aim of the resulting so-called “new generation” Free Trade Agreements is not only to facilitate cross-border trade of products, but also to develop international supply chains, to create mechanisms for the implementation and the enforcement of the law and to open the market as a whole. Hence, Free Trade Agreements include a wide range of regulations, which go beyond classic regulations to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.
The comprehensive regulatory content of bilateral trade agreements raises the question: does the EU have the competence to conclude such trade agreements? This question was the subject of the request for an opinion by the European Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The proceeding concerned the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. The court published its highly anticipated opinion on 16 May 2017 (C-2/15 – the Opinion).read more
Extended Review Competence and Longer Review Periods for the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energyread more
The Award of Rescue Services: Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf submits Controversial Legal Questions to the ECJ
BLOMSTEIN achieved an important success before the Higher Regional Court (HRC) Düsseldorf for the Falck-Group. On 12 June 2017, the public procurement division submitted several questions to the ECJ about the interpretation of public procurement law in order to clarify controversial and fundamental legal questions concerning the award of rescue services (Az VII Verg 34/16). The ECJ’s decision on these legal questions will significantly influence the market for rescue services. The ultimate aim is to clarify whether private service providers will have a realistic chance of fair competition concerning public procurement in this market segment in Germany.read more
What can be inferred for the Facebook investigation from the report on competition and data co-published by the Bundeskartellamt?
The investigation of the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) against Facebook because of suspicions that Facebook may have abused a possibly dominant position has prompted a considerable echo, not only among antitrust lawyers. The FCO is currently investigating (i) whether Facebook may have a dominant position in the market for social networks and (ii) whether it may have abused such position with its specific terms of service on the use of user data.read more
BLOMSTEIN proudly supports the Humboldt Jessup Team, which won the national finals of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Passau as well as several awards (Best Memorial Runner-up Award, Best Oralist of the championship round). We wish the best of success to Louise Majetschak, Philipp Schoenberger, Moritz Schramm and Isabel Walther for the international finals in Washington D.C. in early April 2017!read more
In Germany, acquisitions of companies by foreign investors are subject to investment control in certain sensitive areas. The control regime is aimed at safeguarding essential security interests and limiting foreign influence on German key industries and technologies. It varies depending on the industry concerned: A notification and clearing requirement only applies to acquisitions in the areas of certain military and IT security products. Other acquisitions in industries relevant to Germany’s public order or security are subject to voluntary notification. In such cases, companies may ask for a comfort letter from the authorities, the so-called certificate of non-objection.read more
Good things come to those who wait? – The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy submits a draft bill for a so-called “register of competition”
The idea of a nationwide “register of corruption” has haunted the German procurement law world for years. Now the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy has got serious: On 20 February 2017 the ministry presented a draft bill (WRegG-E) for a law to establish a so-called “register of competition” (Wettbewerbsregister). According to this draft bill, the register is to be established in 2019. Different economic crimes and administrative offences may be registered. Besides administering registrations, the responsible register authority is also tasked with evaluating whether a company has implemented sufficient self-cleaning measures and is therefore able to be delisted and to participate in public procurement procedures again. Contracting authorities must consult the register (even if the relevant EU threshold is not met) before awarding a contract and are allowed to exclude companies on the basis that the company is listed on the register with a higher legal certainty. The implementation of this draft bill would have far-reaching impacts on procurement law practice in Germany.read more
In a judgement on 18 January 2017 (C-365/15 – Wortmann) the ECJ stressed that Member States are obliged to pay interest on duties levied in breach of EU law from the date that these duties were paid. The ECJ thus continued its previous case law from cases Jülich II (joined cases C 113/10, C 147/10 and C 234/10), Littlewoods Retail (C-591/10) and Irimie (C-565/11) and extended it to the EU Customs Code’s scope of application. In comparison to the Court’s judgement in Jülich II, achieved under participation of BLOMSTEIN Of Counsel Hans-Joachim Prieß, in this judgement, the ECJ for the first time establishes for “circumstances such as those in the case in the main proceedings” that Article 241 Customs Code (CC) does not exclude the payment of interests – even though this provision generally exempts customs authorities from the obligation to pay interest.read more
Donald Trump’s announcement to become a president unlike any Washington has ever seen has materialised in relation to international trade and international relations: Trump wants to make America great again by means of protectionist measures. Which consequences may arise and how can the EU react?read more