• Several New EU "Block Exemptions" to Appear in 2010
  • March 17, 2010 | Author: Robert Rakison
  • Law Firm: McGuireWoods LLP - London Office
  • EU "block exemptions" automatically exempt certain types of agreements from the basic prohibition on anti-competitive agreements contained in Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). There will be several developments in the area of block exemptions during 2010, that are important for day-to-day business operations in the EU.

    The most high-profile change will be the introduction of the new Vertical Agreements Block Exemption (VABE), replacing the existing version that expires May 31, 2010. It is likely that the changes will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with the key change being the introduction of a buyer market share threshold. This would mean the VABE will only apply if the market shares of the buyer and seller on their respective markets are below 30%. Related guidelines will also be produced.

    Two more block exemptions expire at the end of 2010 -- those relating to R&D and specialization agreements. A review of these block exemptions and the Commission's general guidelines relating to horizontal agreements has been undertaken. The result is expected soon, and the guidelines in particular, covering a range of horizontal cooperative arrangements, will be an important document. There are also two specialist block exemptions that must be renewed during the first half of 2010. These relate to vertical agreements in the motor vehicle sector and certain types of agreements in the insurance sector.