Wednesday, October 14, 2020
The European Commission is looking for new ways of enforcing EU competition law faster to enhance the effectiveness of antitrust intervention. Against this context, this article explores a tool that is already at the Commission’s disposal: interim measures. These allow the Commission to intervene quickly in those markets where anticompetitive harm must be addressed as soon as possible. The antitrust community generally encourages the Commission to use this tool more frequently. However, there is room to think about how to make interim measures sharper. For this purpose, the article first studies whether there are some necessary changes to make to overcome obstacles that may be impeding the Commission from using interim measures; and, second, it explores aspects that can be reformed to enhance the effectiveness of this instrument. The article concludes that, while there is no need to make any fundamental change for the Commission to resort to interim measures, there is space to introduce some reforms in three aspects: the standard of “irreparable damage”, the notion of victims, and the procedure. For each of them, this article offers two options for reform drawing from the experience of other jurisdictions.