Excessive pricing: EU Commission accepts Aspen’s drug pricing commitments

“When the price of a drug suddenly goes up by several hundred percent, this is something the Commission may look at” Commissioner Vestager said when opening a formal investigation into Aspen’s alleged excessive pricing conduct in May 2017.  On 10 February 2021, the EU Commission (Commission) closed the investigation by accepting legally binding commitments offered … Read more

Subsidy Control in the UK following the end of the Brexit Transition Period

The EU State aid regime in its current form ceased to be applicable in the UK as at the end of 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period expired.  Going forward, State aid or “subsidy control” in the UK will be based on the subsidy control chapter under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement … Read more

The EU Commission’s evolving Green Deal strategy – more clarity please

On 4 February 2021, the European Commission’s long-awaited Conference on Competition Policy Contributing to the European Green Deal took place (see our previous blog on the consultation preceding the conference here).  The conference was opened by Commission Executive Vice President and Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager. Read more

The Impact of Brexit and Origin Rules on Trade between Japan, the UK and the EU

At the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (“EU-Japan EPA”) ceased to apply to trade with the UK.  In anticipation of this change the UK and Japan signed on 23 October 2020 a “roll-over” or continuity trade agreement that largely mirrors the terms of the EU-Japan … Read more

EU Commission fines in first purchasing cartel in the chemical sector

On 22 January 2021, the European Commission published a non-confidential version of its decision to fine ethylene purchasers Orbia, Clariant and Celanese a total of EUR 260 million for participating in a cartel aimed at purchasing ethylene at the lowest possible price, to the detriment of ethylene sellers. Westlake, a fourth participant, applied for and … Read more

CJEU confirms Goldman Sachs’ liability in power cables cartel

On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) dismissed in its entirety an appeal brought by the Goldman Sachs Group (Goldman Sachs) against a General Court ruling which confirmed Goldman Sachs’ joint and several liability in the 2014 power cables cartel (judgment here). Read more

Commission publishes consultation on VBER policy options

On 18 December 2020 the Commission published a further consultation on its proposals for a revised vertical agreements block exemption Regulation (VBER) and guidelines.  The Commission’s steps to date, and conclusions of its evaluation phase, are set out in our HSF Notes post from 17 September 2020. In essence the evaluation concluded that the current rules … Read more


On 9 December 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) annulled a European Commission decision accepting legally binding commitments offered by Paramount aimed at addressing a Commission investigation into cross-border pay-TV in the EU (the “Paramount Commitment Decision”). The CJEU also set aside a General Court judgment that had rejected an action for … Read more