In Roman times, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings. For this reason, he was usually depicted as having two faces: one looks to the past, and the other to the future. But Janus was also the god of transitions. With the first term of Margarethe Vestager’s tenure as Competition Commissioner coming to an end, and her second about to begin, in this edition of the CPI Antitrust Chronicle, we take a Janus-like look at enforcement trends in Europe, as we transition from one Vestager administration to the next.
Looking back: one article takes stock of Commissioner Vestager’s first five years, and sets out her likely priorities during her second, historic term, with an enlarged mission to make Europe “fit for the Digital Age.” Another identifies trends in the Commission’s annual report for 2018, and their implications for future enforcement, particularly in digital markets. At the national level, another article evaluates the record of the Spanish competition authority as it celebrates its 30th anniversary, and identifies the challenges it faces ahead.
Looking forward: other authors tackle specific questions, learning from the past while plotting out a possible future: Based on its decades of experience, how should the Commission reform its vertical block exemption regulation to continue to be relevant for the third decade of the century? Should the Commission revive its past practice of interim measures in antitrust proceedings as a means to protect competition before fast-moving facts render a case moot? And should long-standing EU competition rules be adapted or modified for the digital age, and if so, how?
These articles reflect both the changes and continuity in European competition enforcement in a time of accelerating economic developments. We hope that they shed some light on the crucial competition issues European regulators will face in the months and years to come.
As always, thank you to our great panel of authors.