On September 8, 2020, the European Commission published the Staff Working Document on its review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”). During the evaluation phase, the European Commission gathered a large body of evidence on the functioning of the VBER from several sources. Overall, the evaluation has shown that the VBER and the Vertical Guidelines are useful tools for the European Commission, NCAs, national courts and businesses. Nevertheless, the evaluation has also identified a number of issues, in particular as regards the clarity of the rules and their ability to address new market developments. Based on these findings, in October 2020 the European Commission has launched the impact assessment phase.

By Andrea Amelio, Isabel Pereira Alves & Marion Carbo1

 

INTRODUCTION

On September 8, 2020, the Commission published the Staff Working Document (“SWD”)2 on its review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”).3 This publication marked the end of the first phase of the two-stage review process that will result in the adoption of the new vertical rules that should come into force when the current rules expire on May 31, 2022.

The Commission launched the review process of the current VBER and the Vertical Guidelines4 on October 3, 2018. In this so-called evaluation phase, which ended with the publication of the SWD, the Commission aimed at gathering evidence from stakeholders on the functioning of the VBER together with the Verti

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