EP hearing just ended

12 January, 2010


The hearing in the European Parliament just ended for Mr. Joaquín Almunia,the prospective Commissioner for Competition. He promised to be “better than the best”.

You can watch the hearing here.


Only one month to go – there are still some places left

12 January, 2010

After last year’s successful conference in Budapest, this year the Annual Conference on Competition Enforcement in the Recently Acceded Member States will be organised in Brno. The speakers include Rafaj, Petr (Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition); Schweitzer, Heike (European University Institute); Marsden, Philip (Office of Fair Trading, BIICL); Bányaiová, Lucie (Senior Associate, Salans); Bednářová, Barbora (former Adviser to the First Vice-Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition of the Czech Republic); Neruda, Robert (Office for the Protection of Competition); Brouček, Milan (Director, Chief Economist Department, Office for the Protection of Competition); Bejcek, Josef (Masarykova univerzita); Csorba, Gergely (Chief economist, Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH));Katsoulacos, Yannis (Athens University of Economics and Business); Kokkoris, Ioannis (Visiting Professor, Bocconi University); Le Berre, Morvan (Wardyński i Wspólnicy sp.k.); Petr, Michal (Head of the Legislative and International Section, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection); Szakadát, László (Competition Council, Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH)), Szilágyi, Pál (Competition Law Research Centre, Hungary); Tóth, Tihamér (Professor at Pazmany Peter Catholic University and White & Case; former Vice President of the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH)).

You can find more information at the website of the conference: www.eccompetitionlaw.eu.

ASCOLA Conference (27-29 May 2010)

2 January, 2010

Not yet published on ASCOLA website, but available at Daniel Sokol’s blog.

The 5th ASCOLA Conference will be held in Bonn on 27-29 May 2010. The general topic will be “Goals of Competition Law”

Discussions at earlier ASCOLA Conferences have revealed a need for a profound debate on the normative foundations of competition law. Accordingly, the General Assembly decided at the Zürich Conference to dedicate a conference to this issue to be held in Bonn.

(1) Forms of active participation

Similar to the approach taken by the organisers of this year’s Washington conference, there will be two groups of active participants – speakers and commentators. The speakers will be identified by a call for papers, and, if needed, will be reimbursed for their travel expenses.

Commentators will only be requested to make short comments on the speakers’ papers. ASCOLA will not reimburse the commentators. But being on the programme may be helpful to the commentators to finance their trip to Bonn through their home institutions or through other sources.

(2) On the topics to be covered

The conference will address the “Goals of Competition Law” in two parts:

Part I: “The normative foundations of competition law”

Part I aims at developing a more common understanding of the normative foundations of competition law. It is suggested that we take a comparative approach. Contributors are therefore kindly requested to take account of the legal situation in one (preferably: their “own”) or a few jurisdiction(s). Papers could, for instance, focus on the following questions:
– Does competition law serve one or more than one goal? What is/are this/these goal/s?

– If it serves more than one goal, how are these goals inter-related?

– Is competition an open concept, or is it defined by certain (market) results?

– If it is an open concept, what are the prerequisites of competition?

– When and in which way do aims such as efficiency and (consumer) welfare come into play? If consumer welfare (or consumer benefit) is an issue, who will be considered to be a consumer?

– If efficiency is an issue, in which way is it assessed (short term allocative efficiency or long term assessment, including dynamic efficiencies)?

– Are competitors protected in their own right?

If you are considering preparing a paper for Session I, you may find it helpful to have a look at the report on the objectives of unilateral conduct rulesprepared by the International Competition Network, which is the result of considerable comparative work. The goal of the discussion in the framework of part I is to arrive at some common understanding with respect to an underlying concept of competition. It is hoped to reach some conclusions as to the ingredients or ‘living conditions’ of such competition.

Session II: “Selected issues related to the goals of competition law”

Session II will cover selected issues that are related to the general theme of the goals of competition law. Here contributors are invited not to report from the perspective of one particular jurisdiction, but to take a broader view. They may, if they wish, develop comparative analyses of various legal systems. They may also follow an interdisciplinary approach such as an economic, historical or philosophical analysis of law.

Suggested topics for Session II include:

– Ways to recognise other goals (in particular: ‘non-economic’ goals) when applying competition law

– The relationship between competition law (in the narrow sense of antitrust law) and the law of unfair competition

– To what extent is buyer power an issue for competition law?

– Is ‘too big to fail’ an issue for competition law?

– Are there special goals of competition law in the media industry?

– Are there particular goals for competition law in developing countries?

You are kindly invited to suggest other issues for Session II. If you offer to contribute to Session II, please indicate which methodology you intend to apply.

(3) Information for potential speakers – Call for papers

Step 1:

If you want to become a speaker to the conference, please return the attached form by 8 January 2010, accompanied by an abstract of no more than three pages setting out the main points of the paper you would like to present. If you offer to contribute to session II, please also indicate which methodology you intend to apply.

Step 2:

A committee installed by the ASCOLA Executive Board will select the papers for presentation at the Bonn conference and invite the speakers for submission of a full paper.

The speakers are kindly requested to submit their papers electronically by the 30 April 2010 so as to enable the commentators to prepare for the conference.

Note that you do not have to be a member of ASCOLA in order to become a speaker.

(4) ASCOLA Young Researcher Award

For the first time, ASCOLA will grant the ASCOLA Young Researcher Award to the best papers submitted by a young researcher. The person to whom the award will be granted will be identified by the committee that selects the papers for the conference and will act as a speaker at the conference. The following persons qualify for the award:

35 years or younger at the time of the conference

ASCOLA membership not required

As a member of ASCOLA, you are kindly requested to spread the news on this award to young researchers and try to convince promising young researchers to take part in the process by handing in the attached form with a declaration that they are willing to compete for the award.

The committee may decide to grant the award to more than one contributor; it may also decide not to grant the award.

(5) Publication

All the papers and comments will be published in the ASCOLA series with Edward Elgar. Commentators will have the possibility to expand more toward “stand-alone” articles.

Daniel Zimmer,

Member of the ASCOLA Executive Board, Organiser of the conference

Josef Drexl

Chair of ASCOLA