Comments on revised EU competition rules on horizontal agreements between undertakings


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 draft revised Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations on Research & Development (“R&D”) and Specialisation agreements (“R&D BER” and “Specialisation BER” respectively, together “HBERs”) and the draft revised Horizontal Guidelines (“HG”).

The evaluation of the Commission has shown that HBERs and HG are not fully adapted to economic and societal developments of the last ten years, such as digitisation and the pursuit of sustainability goals. Some of the provisions in the HBERs were considered rigid and complex, while other provisions were considered unclear and difficult to interpret by companies. The level of legal certainty provided by the HG was found to be uneven for the different types of horizontal cooperation agreements covered. The AEDC welcomes the revised HG as they address many aspects that remained uncertain and needed some update.

The information and views set out in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Participants of the working group were Diego García Adánez (abogado, White & Case); Íñigo Igartua (abogado, Gómez Acebo & Pombo); Irene Moreno Tapia (abogada, Cuatrecasas); Jorge Manzarbeitia (abogado, Callol & Coca abogados); Marcos Araujo (abogado, University of Glasgow); Patricia Vidal Martínez (abogada, Uría Menéndez); Victoria Rivas Santiago (abogada, Gómez Acebo & Pombo). The opinions contained in this paper are individually presented by the members of the working group and do not represent the opinion of their respective firms or institutions in which they participate/render services.

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