The AG Opinion in Commission v. Tempus Energy (C-57/19 P) or the risk of a further weakening of third party rights in State aid procedures

symbols of justice and law on table of judge

Two instructive blog posts on the weak rights of third parties in State aid procedures have most recently appeared, by Prof. Leigh Hancher (see here) and by Juliette Delarue (see here). Reading those can only be recommended — they set the right tone as regards the disappointing AG General Opinion in Commission v. Tempus Energy (C-57/19 P).

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The long battle of environmental lawyers for better public scrutiny of EU acts: where do we stand?

green forest near mountain range under clear sky

On 12 July 2021, the European Parliament (the “EP“) and the Council reached an informal agreement on the revision of the Aarhus Regulation to ensure that EU administrative acts are in line with EU green goals. It expands the list of subjects who can challenge EU acts to include members of the public and broadens the scope of the review of EU decisions to include also administrative acts requiring implementing measures at the national level.

The informal agreement is the latest step in a long process to ensure that the EU’s rules on legal standing do not infringe its obligations under the 1998 Aarhus Convention (the “Convention”). The Parties (to the Convention) will, in October 2021, decide about the compliance of the EU’s approach with the Convention.

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Vertical agreements soon to see revised rules: the Commission’s draft VBER and Vertical Guidelines are open for comments

woman holding card while operating silver laptop

On 9 July 2021, the European Commission has published the long awaited drafts of the revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) and Guidelines on Vertical Restraints (“Vertical Guidelines”), contextually launching a public consultation to gather stakeholders’ feedback before the adoption of the new rules planned by June 2022. This follows a review process of more than two years and nine months.

Amongst the draft changes, the Commission proposes stricter rules for dual distribution and parity clauses relating to indirect sales. Conversely, the Commission proposes to relax rules for active sales restrictions and dual pricing.

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Hope for companies to soon get more guidance on how to cooperate to achieve sustainability objectives

On 6 May 2021, the Commission has published a staff working document (“SWD“, see here) on its evaluation of the two Horizontal block exemption regulations (‘HBERs‘, expiring on 31 December 2022) – Regulations (EU) No 1217/2010 (R&D BER) and 1218/2010 (Specialisation BER) – and its Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines.

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