It has long been recognised that financial support in favour of football clubs can distort fair competition. A widespread concern is that investors behind the big European clubs like Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, or Chelsea FC reign over professional football with their money at will. In light of this, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) established the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. With the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, which entered into force in January 2023, there may be another instrument to address financial advantages to football clubs perceived as unfair if the investment is attributable to a government outside the EU.read more
On 1 June 2023, the European Commission finally adopted its revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations on Research and Development (R&D) and Specialisation agreements, which are accompanied by the revised Horizontal Guidelines (2023 Horizontal Guidelines).read more
Finding the right balance between strengthening cooperation pursuing sustainability goals on the one side and ensuring compliance with competition law on the other has been a major topic of competition authorities and regulators in recent years (see our briefings of 26 January 2022 and 7 February 2021). The competition community is eagerly awaiting the European Commission’s second draft of the horizontal guidelines. Meanwhile, the German FCO announced on Thursday that the animal welfare initiative “Initiative Tierwohl” will abolish the compulsory premium because of competition law concerns.read more
Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can be prompted to create wholly novel content, is a hot topic all around, from news and social media to policymakers and businesses. Image-generating AI models that create (digital) paintings inspired by van Gogh or other famous artists in seconds, or text-generating AI models like ChatGPT that pass university exams with ease are fascinating the internet community. Fact is that many generative AI-based applications have been made available to the public in the last months, from machine translations to image recognition and music generation. Yet, this is just the beginning of a ground-breaking technology, which will sooner than later be deployed in a wide spectrum of activities and become a critical infrastructure for many businesses.read more
On 18 April, the European Parliament adopted the CBAM, an unprecedented carbon border adjustment charge, which takes into account the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imported goods of emissions-intensive sectors with a high risk of so-called “carbon leakage”. Carbon leakage takes place when, for reasons of costs related to climate policies in the EU, businesses transfer their production plants to other countries outside the bloc with less costly climate policies (see our briefing from July 2021). The initiative is part of the 2030 Climate and Energy “Fit for 55” legislative package under the European Green Deal, an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% until 2030 compared to the levels of 1990.read more
ECJ: Electricity tax exemptions for electricity generation also for upstream and downstream operations.
In its ruling dated March 9, 2023, in the case C-571/21, the ECJ clarified that electricity manufacturers are entitled to exemption from electricity tax for a large number of operations that are upstream and downstream of the actual generation of electricity, in accordance with an interpretation of national law that is consistent with EU law. The ECJ thus sets limits to the hitherto prevailing view in customs administration and case law.read more
EU Regulation on deforestation-free products: What comes next for importers / exporters of agricultural commodities?
On 19 April, the European Parliament approved the Regulation on deforestation-free products, which prohibits the placement of a number of agricultural and livestock products originating from deforested or degraded forest areas on the EU market (text will be available here). The Regulation aims to block imports associated with deforestation, particularly cattle (whether live, meat or leather), cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy, timber and rubber (read our briefing from November 2021).read more
BLOMSTEIN publishes second monitoring for the public procurement of architectural and planning services in Berlin
Together with the Berlin Chamber of Architects, BLOMSTEIN is promoting a more competition-friendly public procurement of architectural and planning services in Berlin.read more
After a reportedly heated debate among EU leaders, the EU has adopted its long announced tenth package of sanctions at the anniversary of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The latest package introduces yet another set of comprehensive sanctions, including additional financial sanctions on individuals, companies, and three additional Russian banks, the expansion of export and import bans, measure aimed at strengthening enforcement and preventing circumvention, as well as further measures. No additional measures were taken with respect to Belarus. Here are the details:read more
BLOMSTEIN is a proud sponsor of this year’s German national rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.read more