18: Isabelle de Silva from France

18: Isabelle de Silva from France

A key competition law development in France in 2020: I would say that for me, the most significant competition law decision is our interim measure of the 9th april 2020. This decision is significant in many respects. First, it relates to a very important issue, which is the recognition, by a European directive, of some specific rights to the press editors when their content is shown on digital platforms. This directive had been approved after a very heated debate, many platforms such as Google opposing staunchly the adoption of the text. Second, it shows that competition law can be applied in very diverse situations and tackle the issues of the digital age, including when the issue at stake relates to the way a new law is applied by some companies. Third, it illustrates the efficacy of a tool such as the interim measures procedure : in less than 4 months, the rather difficult questions were analysed by the Adlc teams after a thorough investigation, a hearing was held, and a very reasoned decision issued. Fourth, the court of appeal, where Google attacked the decision issuing several injunctions, – including an obligation to negotiate in good faith with press editors -, gave a decision on the case very fast, and fully confirmed our analysis (giving only some precisions about the wording of one injunctions). And finally, I was very impressed by the dedication of my colleagues, the decision having been written just as we had been placed in lockdown for several weeks, which did not facilitate the work on such a delicate case.

A place to visit in France after the pandemic: France is of course a country where you never cease to discover new landscapes, cute villages or impressive churches. I would like to suggest three places I find very beautiful and which are not often in the spotlight.

The 1st one is the easiest to visit, as it is right in the centre of Paris : the Petit Palais (small Palace). It contains the Fine arts collection of the city of Paris, and has a very impressive, diverse and curated collection, with some wonderful gems in terms of XIXth century paintings and sculpture. But you also get, thrown in the mix, an amazing building and a wonderful garden surrounded by antique columns where you can take the tea

My second choice takes more preparation to discover but is well worth the trip : the city of Albi, in the department of Tarn. You will find at the same time a beautiful city, reminiscent of a “French Florence” (without the hoards of tourists), a one of a kind cathedral, an excellent Toulouse-Lautrec museum located in an … episcopal building ! (Some of the models of Toulouse-Lautrec would be surprised to find themselves in such august surroundings) and a fantastic “halles”, or covered market with all the local delicacies, fruits and vegetables.

And lastly, not very far from Albi, you have Rodez, in the department of Aveyron. The city is also very lively, with a nice atmosphere, excellent restaurants and a very quiet feel ; but for modern art lovers the highlight is the Soulages museum, entirely dedicated to the work of Pierre Soulages, and set in a beautiful modern building, created according to the taste of the painter, still active at 100 years old

You might not be able to visit all these places soon, but dreaming about them is still a good start! Have a very fine Christmas and festive season, and hope to meet you all in person in 2021!

Isabelle de Silva is the President of the French Competition Authority.

The Petit Palais in Paris, France.