E.U. & Antitrust

E.U.& Antitrust 

Garrigues’ EU and Antitrust Law Department can boast a team of highly specialized professionals based at its offices in Spain, Portugal and Belgium. Its clients hail from a wide array of industries: manufacturing, energy, consumer goods, aviation, pharmaceutical and chemical products, telecommunications, etc.

The Department’s lawyers can draw on a wealth of experience in the various areas making up competition law, advising both on a preventative basis and in the context of investigations by the Spanish and European authorities. Garrigues’ EU and Antitrust practice also takes in a broad range of sector-specific engagements, as well as international trade-related matters, including trade defense instruments.

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Garrigues has been providing EU law advisory services even before Spain joined the European Union. In 1985, Garrigues opened its Brussels office, since when it has provided advisory services and represented clients before bodies and courts in all manner of EU law-related matters, above all, antitrust, state aid, mergers, structural funds, internal market, public procurement, international trade and European tax law, to name but a few.

The Brussels office has made a name for itself in the legal market thanks to the wealth of experience it has amassed in EU law engagements. Its clients include financial institutions and companies from the energy, pharmaceutical distribution, sports, telecommunications, food, retail, movie production, and transportation industries. The Firm’s professionals regularly advise a number of Spanish public authorities at all levels on EU law issues.

Representation before Spanish and EU bodies and courts

One of the hallmarks of antitrust law is the broad range of institutions tasked with enforcing it. Not only does antitrust law touch upon dealings with specialist agencies, such as the Spanish National Antitrust Commission or the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, but it is also increasingly being applied by ordinary judges and courts, as well as by other administrative bodies throughout the various tiers of government.

The structure of Garrigues’ EU and Antitrust Law Department, which is present at almost all of the Firm’s offices and is supported by the Firm’s other departments and teams specializing in administrative law and litigation, makes liaising between the Firm’s clients and the competent national and European courts and administrative bodies a great deal easier.

Control of concentrations

Mandatory clearance of concentrations is an essential step in a good number of corporate transactions. It can also, at times, be a critical step, as the ability to carry out a transaction in the way envisaged by the parties may depend on successfully clearing this hurdle.

In recent years, Garrigues’ EU and Antitrust Law Department has been involved in a considerable number of cases, some of which have called for intensive negotiations of commitments with the competent authorities, as well as taking into account the impact of industry-specific legislation. The experience gained in this area enables Garrigues to rapidly and efficiently design imaginative solutions to highly complex situations.

Antitrust

Cartels and anticompetitive agreements: The control of anticompetitive agreements and the policy on anti-cartel enforcement have undergone a sea change in recent years. With the disappearance of the system for notifying agreements to the competition authorities, the need for self-assessment of conduct has come into its own. Elsewhere, leniency systems have revolutionized the battle against cartels, giving rise to new problems that have yet to be fully resolved.

Abuses of dominant position: the string of cases involving Microsoft, as well as the decisions handed down in cases such as Astra Zeneca, British Airways or Michelin, shed light on the weakness of the formal approach under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, sparking a debate on the need to tailor its application to the current business climate in order to ensure that antitrust policy is not used to protect inefficient operators.

Unfair competition: In spite of their different origins, procedures and instruments, the provisions of Spanish legislation governing unfair practices complement competition law. Such provisions enable action to be taken against unconcerted commercial practices by companies that do not enjoy a dominant position but nevertheless have a significant impact on the market and the public interest.

International trade

The European Union is of the most active trading blocs and therefore a major player in international trade. As a member of the World Trade Organization, the EU champions the progressive liberalization of trade and the removal of technical and tariff barriers. As part of its trade policy, the EU frequently makes use of trade defense instruments, such as the anti-dumping measures used against goods imported from outside the EU at abnormally low prices.

Public intervention in the economy and state aid control

Control of the state aid measures benefiting certain companies and industries has been an integral part of the EU’s competition policy from its inception. Nonetheless, the importance of such control has increased enormously in recent years.

The EU and Antitrust Law Department advises companies and public authorities on this area. Noteworthy engagements performed include various cases involving the treatment of tax measures as state aid, infrastructure financing, and aid to credit institutions with restructuring needs.

Contacts

Marcos Araujo Boyd
Hermosilla, 3 - 28001 Madrid, (Spain)
Tlfno.: +34.91.514.52.00
Fax: +34.91.399.24.08
José Luis Buendía
EU Law Office Garrigues Avenue d'Auderghem, 22-28 - B - 1040 Bruxelles (Belgique)
Tlfno.: +32 2 545 37 00
Fax: +32 2 545 37 99
João Paulo Teixeira de Matos
Av. da Republica, 25 - 1050-186 Lisboa (Portugal)
Tlfno.: +351.213.821.200
Fax: +351.213.821.290

Chambers Europe 20xx: Band xxx

Legal 500 20xx: xxx Tier Firm

According to the European edition of Chambers & Partners 2010: “The competition department is able to offer high-quality services covering all aspects of competition law.”

2010 edition of the Legal 500: “Garrigues has carved a strong name in the market through its advice to many of Spain’s major corporates.”

Global Competition Review: “Spanish competition lawyers say Garrigues has also become a go-to firm for clients looking for merger control or cartel defense over the years. The team is also well positioned to take on large competition matters, including larger Europe-wide mergers and investigations. The team has advised clients across a variety of sectors, including high-profile cases in the insurance and energy sectors.”