During the COVID-19 crisis, competition authorities around the globe have taken a flexible and pragmatic approach with regard to cooperation among competitors considered necessary to deal with the effects of the pandemic. At the same time, however, companies have been reminded that competition law continues to apply and authorities have been even more vigilant in particular against price gouging and other practices that could lead to the increase in prices of essential products to face the crisis. Huge numbers of complaints have been lodged and competition authorities have launched investigations and even dawn raids. As business life returns, we expect to see a significant increase in the number of investigations and dawn raids across different jurisdictions concerning practices both related and unrelated to COVID-19. Companies must be prepared to face and manage such situations in advance. Further, while a rise in M&A activity across the EU may be expected in the coming months, merger control regimes remain fully in force and authorities are not expected to relax the notification requirements or their comprehensive review of the transactions.
The leading law firms Chiomenti, Cuatrecasas, Gide Loyrette Nouel and Gleiss Lutz, that together form a European Network, have hold the webinar competition law outlook in the aftermath of the COVID19 crisis: Highlights from core EU jurisdictions on June 18, 2020. This webinar have provided an overview of the key competition law highlights in five core EU jurisdictions (France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain) regarding:
• Cooperation between companies during and after the COVID-19 crisis
• Enforcement activities
• Merger control
• Expected targeted industries