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After the Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force in November 2022, the European Commission is now hosting a series of workshops to consult stakeholders on specific questions regarding the DMA’s implementation. The first workshop dealt with the prohibition on self-preferencing in Article 6(5) DMA and focused on the interpretation of the provision as well as possible solutions to ensure compliance with it in practice.

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On 29 November 2022, the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) announced its eagerly awaited ruling on the follow-on lawsuit regarding the so-called “drugstore products cartel” (Case No. KZR 42/20). The full-text version of the judgement was published today. With this judgement, the FCJ explicitly clarifies that in the case of an anti-competitive exchange of information, there is a factual presumption that such information exchange caused a damage.

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On 28 November 2022, the Council has finally approved the regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (Foreign Subsidies RegulationFSR). The FSR was adopted with only minor changes to the provisional agreement of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 July 2022. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU’s Official Journal, so likely still this year. Most of the new rules will be directly applicable after 6 months, but the new notification requirements for M&A transactions and public procurement procedures will apply 9 months after entry into force of the FSR, i.e. around the start of Q4 2023.

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On 23 November 2022, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) declared that – for the time being – it does not object to the distribution of Meta VR headsets in Germany. The reason is that Meta has voluntarily refrained from linking its VR headsets to Facebook accounts. This case showcases the first application of Sec. 19a of the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) with the effect that a Big Tech company changed its business conduct. In the meantime, further cases are pending before the FCO with the outcome eagerly awaited.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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