August / September 1999

EU: Reform of vertical restraints under way

01 August 1999

The vertical restraints reform should be placed in the context of the White Paper on competition enforcement reform (see Global Competition Review June/July 1999, page 39). The White Paper proposes a radical review of the existing enforcement system under Regulation 17, switching from ex ante to ex post decentralised enforcement. In fact, once the White Paper proposals enter into force (not envisaged to be before 2003), the significance of the vertical restraints reform (which is expected to take place during the year 2000) will be reduced. Indeed, on the basis of the current White Paper proposals, notifications under Articles 81 and 82 EC will no longer be possible. Accordingly, the relevance of the block exemption and guidelines will be limited to an interpretative role in clarifying the Commission’s policy.