• 15 May 2019
    Businesses, regulators and courts are seeing a “golden age” of competition enforcement in Europe that has weathered the decentralizing of power from Brussels to national watchdogs and will weather any Brexit disruption, a top EU judge said today.

    The uniformity of approaches to antitrust scrutiny across the bloc hasn’t been harmed by years of enforcement activity spreading out from the European Commission to national regulators and to companies through the rise of private enforcement through lawsuits, said Christopher Vajda, the UK's representative at the EU Court of Justice since 2012.

    On enforcement, even as the “commission’s market share has reduced substantially” over the past decade and more, there is a “competition culture throughout all member states,” Vajda told an antitrust conference* in London. “Decentralized enforcement of competition law has not been at the expense of uniformity.”

    By Simon Zekaria.

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  • 11 April 2019
    Brexit can be delayed until Oct. 31, EU leaders agreed late on Wednesday night, on condition that the UK hold European Parliament elections in May. UK Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to the extension.

    The European Council’s conclusions to last night’s summit also call on the UK to “act in a constructive and responsible manner throughout the extension,” following threats from supporters of a hard Brexit to disrupt the bloc’s workings, though it didn't detail any enforcement mechanisms for this clause.

    The extension could be cut short in one of two ways. First, if the UK fails to conduct EU elections in May, it will be forced to leave the EU on June 1, the Council document says. Second, if the UK Parliament approves the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will leave under that agreement on the first day of the following month.

    By Zosia Wanat, Madison Czopek and Fiona Murphy.

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  • 10 April 2019
    The UK’s plan to scrap the EU’s geo-blocking rules after Brexit might result in lower prices for British consumers, at the expense of those inside the bloc, a minister has said in response to criticism from lawmakers.

    The UK will repeal the EU’s Geo-blocking Regulation, which prevents online retailers from imposing different prices or terms on customers based on nationality, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.>br>
    Lawmakers in the House of Lords, Parliament’s upper chamber, last night debated secondary legislation to do this, put forward under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, the enabling legislation intended to deliver sweeping amendments to the statute book.

    By Matthew Holehouse.

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  • 01 March 2019
    The US, New Zealand, Brazil and other major exporting countries would have to compete with EU producers for preferential access to the UK for sensitive products subject to import quotas under a no-deal Brexit scenario, MLex has learned. They would also face strong competition from UK producers in exporting such goods to the EU.

    The EU-UK deal on the post-Brexit split of tariff-rate quotas doesn’t foresee any additional quota allocations for the bilateral trade between the two in the most sensitive goods.

    To benefit from preferential tariffs, the EU and the UK exporters will therefore need to use the “erga omnes” quotas, which are accessible by all other countries.

    By Zosia Wanat, Joanna Sopinska and Poppy Carnell.

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  • 27 February 2019
    The UK has secured its future membership of a 46-country trade pact on state-procurement markets, though a no-deal Brexit could leave Britain out of the accord for about a month because of the time needed for approvals.

    Members of the Government Procurement Agreement committee at the World Trade Organization today approved the terms of the UK’s future accession, the UK government said in a statement.

    The agreement regulates state procurement of goods and services. It is signed by 19 WTO members, with the EU as one party representing its 28 member countries. The UK wants to rejoin the agreement as an independent country after Brexit.

    By Zosia Wanat.

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