EU & Antitrust

In late March and early April, the European Commission ("EC") approved two state aid packages for Portugal, within the framework of Article 107 (3) (b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), namely decisions SA.56755 and SA.56873, respectively. The EC considers them necessary, appropriate and proportionate measures to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of this Member State.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the guidelines for the entire European Union (“EU”) involve social distancing. This measure, while necessary from a public health perspective, is leaving various sectors of the economy, companies and employees on the brink of collapse. The inability to foresee how long these measures will last means that the true economic impact of this virus will only become known sometime in the future. Within this context, various legislative changes have been seen in both Portugal and the rest of the world. Competition Law has already undergone temporary but truly disruptive changes. Some of these are briefly described in this newsletter.
Companies are responsible for reporting concentrations when certain criteria are met relating to the Competition Act. Until the companies obtain a clearance decision from the competent body, these types of operations must be suspended. The implementation of these operations in breach of this obligation is known as gun-jumping and might trigger high fines.