Over the last two weeks a number of important events for the antitrust community took place. Competition officials from across Europe shared some interesting insights and outlooks on 2017 which we would like to pass on to you in order to alert you to some developments to expect.

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On 8 and 9 of December, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) hosted the 7th German Energy Tax Day (Energiesteuertag) together with BLOMSTEIN and others. The conference took place in Berlin and offered all relevant stakeholders the opportunity to discuss current topics around energy and electricity taxes.

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The US presidential election could – judging from the statements in President-elect Trump’s election campaign – have far-reaching effects also for European companies. According to the new President’s election campaign, his political priorities include, on the one hand, the dismantling of the Joint Comprehensive Deal of Action (JCPOA) with Iran which he has called a “disaster” and, on the other hand, a substantial increase of tariffs on imports in order to promote the US economy.

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From 8 to 10 November 2016, the 20th annual EUROFORUM Conference on Public Procurement Law “Brennpunkt Vergaberecht!” took place in Düsseldorf. The conference focused on the current reform of EU/German public procurement law and its effects on public procurement in practice. Renowned experts from industry, administration, judiciary and law firms gathered to share their views on the reform and discuss topics of high practical relevance.

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Last week the business press reported on difficulties in the planned purchase of German companies by Chinese investors. Pursuant to the reports, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy revoked the initially granted certificate of non-objection for the acquisition of Aixtron. Moreover, the Ministry apparently also denied to issue a certificate of non-objection for the acquisition of Osram’s lamp division Ledvance.

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Dr. Roland M. Stein and Dr. Anna Blume Huttenlauch spoke about public procurement and antitrust compliance at a conference organised by forum vergabe e.V. The conference took place on 12 October 2016 in Berlin.

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Based on independent surveys Roland Stein, Pascal Friton, and Hans-Joachim Prieß were ranked among the best lawyers in “Government Contracts” in Germany by Who’s Who Legal 2016.

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Article on the Facebook investigation by Dr. Anna Blume Huttenlauch published in Competition Policy International of 15 August 2016

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently emphasised the importance of the general principles of EU law – in particular the principle of proportionality – for the interpretation of the excise duty directives. The fact-based and flexible interpretation is a welcome development and should lead to a limitation of the overly formal interpretation of excise duty legislation in many EU member states, based on a proper assessment of individual cases.

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Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides recognizes two BLOMSTEIN partners as rising stars. Roland Stein (for International Trade), for the second consecutive time, and Max Klasse (for Competition and Antitrust) have been named “Rising Stars” in the 2016 edition of the Guide to Leading Attorneys – Expert Guides.

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