On 1 January 2023, the “Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains” (the “Act”) will enter into force for companies with more than 3000 employees in Germany. In order to specify the obligations under the Act, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (“BAFA”) published several guidance documents, most recently one on the complaints procedure (in German) under Sec. 8 and 9 of the Act. In this briefing, we summarize the main specifications and recommendations provided in the guidance document.

read more

As of January 1, 2023, companies that fall under the scope of the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG) will be subject to a reporting obligation. To facilitate the timely and complete implementation of this obligation, BAFA has now published a catalogue of questions that provides a detailed insight into the structure and content of the reporting expected by the authorities. In the following, we briefly outline the most important components and added values of this questionnaire.

read more

On the night after Halloween, the long-awaited Digital Market Act (DMA) has entered into force. Should companies be frightened or euphoric about the new EU rules for digital gatekeepers? Although field testing is still some months away – the DMA will only start applying after a further six months, on 2 May 2023 – affected companies are well advised to already familiarize themselves with the mechanics of the DMA. Our briefing outlines how the DMA will work.

read more

In the 2022 State of the Union the President of the European Commission, President von der Leyen, stressed the economic importance and high supply risk of critical raw materials (CRMs), such as lithium, magnesium, rare earths, and others. In this context, she announced the implementation of the CRM Act, of which the feedback and public consultation period is currently ongoing until 25 November 2022. The topic of CRMs and the EU’s dependency on non-member states for supply is not novel but gained traction in light of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the EU’s reliance on Russian gas and oil. At the same time, China is by far the biggest supplier of CRMs to the EU, and China had used its supply of CRMs as a geopolitical response. In possible future conflicts with China, it can be assumed that China will again use CRM supply geopolitically. The CRM Act is the latest example of the EU’s intention to push towards a digital and sustainable future, the “Twin Transition”, as well as strengthen EU resilience and security. It exemplifies the EU institutions’ unanimous effort to reduce strategic dependencies to ensure the “Twin Transition” of the EU economy.

read more

Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, the EU has repeatedly expanded its key legal instrument when it comes to trade and sector-specific sanctions against Russia: Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 (Regulation). Among the various restrictions, several provisions of the Regulation sanction the flow of goods from Russia, prohibiting not only the import but also the purchase and transfer of a wide variety of goods. In its extensive FAQs, the EU Commission has attempted to explain these bans in more detail. As helpful as these interpretations are in principle, however, they have created considerable uncertainty relating to the scope of these prohibitions.

read more

On 6 October 2022, the European Union introduced a new, eighth wave of economic and individual sanction measures against Russia. The package is a response to Russia’s latest escalation of the war against Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. In this briefing, we highlight the most important changes in this package: the expansion of export and import restrictions, the prohibition of certain services to Russian companies, the introduction of a price cap related to the maritime transport of Russian oil, the listing of additional individuals and entities, and the extension of pre-existing sanctions to the newly annexed regions of Ukraine. At the same time, several trade-related restrictions have been amended to avoid threats to nuclear safety and security, allowing for the authorization of exports, imports, or services in relation to civil nuclear capabilities and cooperation.

read more

On 15 September 2022, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the question whether competing tenders submitted by group companies may be excluded from public procurement procedures even absent a violation of Article 101 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) due to the “group privilege” (Case C-416/21).

read more

BLOMSTEIN advised Munich-based start up media company Julep Media GmbH on the FDI-control aspects of the sale to US-based podcast-as-a-service company Liberated Syndication Inc. (Libsyn).

read more

On 21st of July 2022, the European Union introduced a new wave of new sanctions measures against Russia. These measures are reflected in the amendments to Council Regulations 833/2014 and 269/2014 and to Council Decisions 2014/512/CFSP and 2014/145/CFSP. The EU’s new measures aim to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the previous six packages of sanctions. Furthermore, the new package clarifies a few provisions from the previous packages. Finally, it aligns the EU’s sanctions with its allies, in particular, the G7 countries. In total, the new package contains a slew of updates, including minor tweaks. Below we highlight several important changes in this package.

read more

On 1 July 2022, the European Parliament and the Council have reached a political agreement on the proposed Regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (FSR). This marks a decisive step towards the formal adoption of the FSR later this year. The FSR will provide the Commission with a new tool to investigate subsidies granted by non-EU governments out of its own motion but will also subject recipients of foreign subsidies to a parallel merger clearance procedure and to special review in public procurement procedures.

read more