When the President of the European Commission (Commission), Ursula von der Leyen, announced the adoption of the European Green Deal – a roadmap to a sustainable economy – in 2019, she called it Europe’s “man on the moon moment”. The achievement of the multidisciplinary objectives gathered under the Green Deal is a priority on the EU agenda and the Commission has taken yet another step on lunar soil yesterday in a steady commitment to firm its grip and gain some traction on this new planet.

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Pünktlich zur von Schleckereien geprägten Vorweihnachtszeit hat der Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) am 29. November 2022 sein mit Spannung erwartetes Urteil zu der Follow-on-Klage im Nachgang zum „Drogerie-Kartell“ verkündet. (Az. KZR 42/20). Das Urteil ist seit heute auch im Volltext veröffentlicht. Der BGH stellt darin ausdrücklich klar, dass bei einem kartellrechtswidrigen Informationsaustausch eine tatsächliche Vermutung für einen Schaden spricht.

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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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Ab dem 01.01.2023 gilt für Unternehmen, die unter den Anwendungsbereich des Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetzes (LkSG) fallen, die Pflicht zur Berichterstattung. Um die rechtzeitige und vollständige Umsetzung dieser Pflicht zu erleichtern, hat das BAFA nun einen Fragenkatalog veröffentlicht. Dieser bietet einen ausführlichen Einblick in den behördlich erwarteten Aufbau und Inhalt der Berichterstattung. Wir geben nachfolgend einen kurzen Überblick über die wichtigsten Bestandteile und Mehrwerte dieses Fragenkatalogs.

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BLOMSTEIN berät Vodafone zu den investitions- und fusionskontrollrechtlichen Aspekten eines Joint Venture mit dem französischen Telekommunikationsunternehmen Altice.

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Um Unternehmen zu unterstützen, die besonders stark von hohen Energiepreisen infolge des russischen Angriffskriegs auf die Ukraine betroffen sind, wurde im Juli 2022 das sog. Energiekostendämpfungsprogramm (EKDP) eingeführt. Ziel ist es, besondere Härten abzufedern und existenzbedrohende Situationen für diese Unternehmen zu vermeiden. Unter dem EKDP können Unternehmen für den Zeitraum von Februar bis September 2022 einen Zuschuss zu ihren Erdgas- und Stromkosten in Höhe von bis zu 50 Mio. Euro erhalten. Da die Antragsfrist bereits am 31. August 2022 abläuft, haben Unternehmen, die die Förderung in Anspruch nehmen möchten, nur noch wenige Tage Zeit, entsprechende Anträge einzureichen.

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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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