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.

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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.

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BLOMSTEIN advises Brazilian cattle and beef sector representative, Instituto Mato-Grossense da Carne, on EU’s ESG regulatory framework.

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On 21 of June 2022, the German Federal Cabinet submitted to the Bundestag a draft for a Bundeswehr Procurement Acceleration Act (BwBBG-E). The scope of the proposed act covers all procurement initiatives for the supply of military equipment that serve to “directly strengthen the operational capability of the Bundeswehr” within the meaning of Section 104 (2) of the Competition Act (GWB) with a contract value reaching the applicable threshold. It is to be limited in time until 31 of December 2025 and will also apply to procurement procedures that have already begun at the time of entry into force.

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BLOMSTEIN successfully advised IVC Evidensia on the acquisition of the Veterinary Clinic Hofheim, presumably the largest veterinary clinic in Germany.

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On the 3rd June 2022 the European Council decided on a sixth package of sanctions to be imposed on Russia and Belarus in light of the ongoing war against Ukraine. We summarise the adopted measures below.

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BLOMSTEIN has successfully represented an energy company in a multi-million Euro excise tax dispute before the fiscal court Düsseldorf (FG Düsseldorf). After a long litigation over the taxation of a chemical product, the court upheld the company’s view in total.

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Starting on 1st of June 2022, contracting authorities are obliged to consult the Competition Register to determine whether one of the bidders in a public procurement procedure is listed in the Register. Although the contracting authorities will continue to decide on the outcome, i.e., whether to exclude such bidder or not based on an exclusion ground, listings in the competition register will have a considerable indicative effect.

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On 18 May 2022, the General Court (GC) of the European Union upheld a fine of EUR 28 million imposed on Canon for partially implementing its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation (TMSC) before it was cleared under EU merger control rules. The decision sheds new light on when interim measures are considered an implementation of a transaction. The Canon case follows a series of recent ‘gun jumping’ decisions with significant fines, i.e. cases where competition authorities found that parties to a notifiable transaction implemented the transaction prior to merger control clearance. Several lessons can be drawn from the case for multi-stage M&A transactions. This briefing outlines the key take aways of the case and recent practice more generally.

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This week, the European Commission finally adopted its long-awaited new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER). Together with the also updated vertical guidelines, the new rules define competition law requirements for distribution and supply agreements for the next decade. When the new VBER enters into force in June, it will bring significant changes, particularly concerning e-commerce and online distribution. We summarise the most important changes.

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