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Comments to the Commission’s evaluation of EU competition rules on horizontal agreements between undertakings

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The Spanish Association for the Protection of Competition (Asociación Española para la Defensa de la Competencia, hereafter “AEDC”) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the European Commission´s consultation for the evaluation of EU competition rules on horizontal agreements between companies (the “Consultation”).

AEDC’s observations have been provided by lawyers, economists and academics, all specialists in the competition law field. However, these observations have been made on an individual basis do not necessarily represent the views of all the members of the Association.

The Working Group is composed, by alphabetical order by Ana Aguilar, Marcos Araujo, Rafael Baena, Julia Blanco, Enrique Cañizares, Pilar Carrasco, Manuel Contreras, François Dumont, Margarita Fernandez Álvarez, Enrique Ferrer, Pablo Figueroa, Eduardo Gómez de la Cruz, Belén Irissarry, Raquel Lapresta, Teresa López, Isabel Martinez, Beatriz Martos, Mireia Prat, Leyre Prieto, Victoria Ribas, Sanz Fernandez Vega, Javier Torrecillas, Ainhoa Veiga, Pablo Velasco and Patricia Vidal.

The EC is currently evaluating two Commission Regulations which will expire on December 31, 2022: Commission Regulation (EU) No 1217/2010 (for research and development agreements, “R&D BER”) and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1218/2010 (for specialization agreements, “Specialization BER”), together referred to as the “Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations” and the more general guidance provided by the Commission in the Guidelines on the applicability of Article 101 of the TFEU to horizontal co-operation agreements or “Horizontal Guidelines”. The evaluation will allow the Commission to determine whether it should let the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations lapse, prolong their duration or revise them, together with the Horizontal Guidelines. The public consultation is part of the Commission’s evaluation and aims to collect evidence and views from stakeholders.

AEDC has completed the online questionnaire prepared by the Commission and has concluded that while the Regulations and the Guidelines are in general terms welcome, certain aspects deserve clarification or need to be updated. In order to provide more information on the above, AEDC submits the present observations. In general, these observations follow the order of the Commission’s Horizontal Guidelines.

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