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Since March 7th, all core platform services that the European Commission has designated as gatekeepers under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) so far, must comply with the DMA’s obligations and had to submit comprehensive compliance reports. In these reports, they must show in a detailed and transparent manner all relevant information needed by the European Commission to assess the gatekeeper’s effective compliance with the DMA.

In our series of briefings, we recap the key milestones of the DMA implementation, deep dive into the various obligations that gatekeepers are facing, lay out the DMA’s implications for stakeholders who are not (currently) within the direct scope of the legislation and update you on the current status of affairs in the DMA’s implementation.

This time we focus on: The prohibition of parity clauses.

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Lobbying is an everyday reality in politics and constitutes an integral part of democracy. However, in the recent past, several lobbying scandals have revealed deficits in the transparency of lobbying – also in Germany. In particular, lobbying was often not subject to public scrutiny. To counteract the deficits, the German Bundestag has passed the German Lobbying Register Act in 2021. It obliges lobbyists to sign up in a Lobbying Register and publish certain information in connection with their lobbying activities. Recently, the German Bundestag has amended the Act, inter alia by extending the scope of the obligation to register. The changes will come into force on 1 March 2024. They constitute additional obligations both for companies which are already registered in the Lobbying Register as well as new obligations to register for companies which do not have a Lobbying Register entry yet. As violations of obligations under the Lobbying Register Act can be sanctioned with harsh fines up to EUR 50.000 and there is also a risk of considerable reputational damage, it is crucial for companies to ensure compliance with the new rules.

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Almost under the radar, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) performed a U-turn in European case law with its ruling of 30 November 2023 (C-787/22 P) on access to OLAF files. In the appeal judgement, the Court confirmed that “persons concerned” should also have the opportunity to access documents in relation to an OLAF investigation.

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As part of its rollout of the European Economic Security Strategy adopted last year (on which we reported in a previous briefing), the European Commission (Commission) has published a package of planned initiatives aiming to enhance the EU’s economic security. The official communication highlights how the Commission views the package as a comprehensive approach to strengthen the EU’s response capacity to various risks linked to FDI into the EU, outbound investments as well research security and dual-use goods. Accordingly, the unveiled initiatives address the following areas.

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As part of the European Economic Security Strategy, the EU proposes a revision of the Regulation (EU) 2019/452 (Proposed Regulation). The reform is motivated by the need to enhance the protection of security and public order in the face of growing geopolitical challenges and the recognition that certain investments, which are not adequately screened under the current system, could pose risks to EU interests. Here are the key points of the reform.

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As announced last week, BLOMSTEIN is publishing a series of briefings introducing into European and German legal defence matters. In preparation for the new year, our defence team got together and identified the topics that we believe will be relevant for companies in the security and defence industry in the EU and Germany in international trade law, ESG, antitrust law and public procurement law:

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Seit dem 1. Januar 2023 ist das deutsche Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (LkSG) in Kraft. Bisher betraf es inländische Unternehmen mit mindestens 3.000 Mitarbeitenden. Ab dem 1. Januar 2024 erweitert sich der Anwendungsbereich auf Unternehmen mit mehr als 1.000 Beschäftigten. Der Kreis betroffener Unternehmen wird damit erheblich größer. Für neu betroffene Unternehmen haben wir die zentralen Pflichten des LkSG im Überblick zusammengenfasst, die unmittelbar seit Anfang Januar 2024 gelten. Außerdem geben wir einen Ausblick auf die neusten Entwicklungen zu dem geplanten EU-Lieferkettengesetz.

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The EU introduced the Regulation establishing an EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Under the CBAM, importers into the EU of carbon-intensive goods (mainly cement, electricity, fertilizers, iron and steel, aluminum, and hydrogen) will be required to pay a charge for the carbon emissions embedded in those products. This charge will be gradually phased in from 2026 to 2034.

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Over the last three months, BLOMSTEIN has assisted the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova (AmCham) to improve the Moldovan screening mechanism for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). This was achieved in close cooperation with the CELIS Institute, in particular its Executive Director Prof Dr Steffen Hindelang. AmCham was on its side supported by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). The team’s main aim was to improve the already existing provisions, render them more effective and align them with EU requirements as well as best practises in EU member states.

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EU importers should be aware that CBAM legislation may have a significant impact on their operations, supply chain, and logistics. They need to quantify their carbon footprint and prepare for the financial obligations and administrative measures required by CBAM. The first CBAM report about the embedded greenhouse gas emissions is due by 31 January 2024. Here is an update of what EU importers will have to do, what help is available, and if fines are due when the report is not submitted in time.

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