Today saw the final installment of our Antitrust Advent Calendar 2020 – a definite sign that the year draws to a close. Yet, if we learned one thing in the Youknowwhatyear it is this: Nothing is definite. Rupprecht Podszun has some (preliminary?) closing remarks.
When I wrote the final message in 2019, I looked forward “to the exciting developments in 2020” – not anticipating just how exciting it would be. We saw the Facebook case taking twists and turns in the courts, we expected the German competition bill to be passed, only to find out that we have to wait just a little bit longer, the EU Commission unveiled plans for tougher rules on digital competition (while at the same time approving of the latest Google acquisition of Fitbit despite stern opposition from economists). There were stunning developments in damages claims with path-breaking decisions by the Dortmund court and the German Federal Court of Justice, the Bundesgerichtshof. The courts also dealt with cartel cases (just think of the beer cartel!) – and the presiding judge of the cartel senate at the Bundesgerichtshof stirred some uproar with a blog post here when he took issue with a judgment of his colleagues from the constitutional court, Bundesverfassungsgericht.
On the European level, the Commission was not really on a cosy track with the Court with judgments like CK Telecoms, Casino or Canal+. Mergers like Fiat/Peugeot or Alstom/Bombardier went through, yet there were some fine, some new proceedings opened (hello, Apple & Amazon!) and of course a myriad of initiatives on new rules (market definition, VBER, merger control, well, actually in any field of competition law!)
And all this was basically done from home. (I still love the greetings we collected from lawyers and economists working remotely, sending us a digital postcard from their homes…) Who would have imagined that we have enforcement activity, groundbreaking papers and policy fireworks, all done by people sitting in a comfy jumper in their homes with their kids asking for help with homework and the cats browsing through the form CO, secured last minute from the office!?
It should not be me, however, summarising this – we had 24 personalities who guided us through the most important events in their jurisdictions this year, and that was a treat! Of course, I am talking about our 2020 edition of the Antitrust Advent Calendar where we organised a world tour: going from Israel with Michal Gal to Hong Kong where Sandra Marco Colino took us up Lion Rock from where we can take a sneak preview into the next year…
(When I speak of “we” I should name my great PhD-students Adrian Deuschle and Philipp Bongartz who actually secured all these lovely little pieces from all over the world, who corresponded with the authors and did the formatting for the blog. Kudos to you, Adrian & Philipp! There is a team running this blog, and I am so grateful that my folks know much more about life hacks or real hacks for WordPress blogs than I do…)
12 of our 24 world competition tour guides in the Antitrust Advent Calendar are male, 9 work primarily in academia, 8 in agencies, 7 in private practice. Even some heads of competition agencies engaged in our little merry entertainment! While I, personally, had my eyes set on developments in digital competition law this year, I found it reassuring to see that our ambassadors identified a much wider range of competition law topics as vital. Not all is digital.
My most favourite part in the Antitrust Advent Calendar however was the bit where we asked for individual travel tips. All of our contributors shared their favourite spots (and some shared more than one!) One of our “tour guides” invited all of us to hike with him, one suggested to stop by in the family’s art gallery and one took us to the spot where he spent the summers with his grandparents (to mention just three).
Last month, I travelled to Berlin for the hearing on the new German competition bill. It was one of the very few trips this year… and one of the co-experts put it so well: “My god, how I longed for just being out again and travel!” That was exactly what I felt. For your convenience, we connected the dots in a Google map that are the must-sees in the 24 countries we covered in the Calendar. If you take a sabbatical anytime soon post Corona (oh! here is the word!), please say “hi” to all the friends from the antitrust community (and drop by in Düsseldorf, the capital of antitrust law in Germany!) We will stay here and keep you updated (or so I hope/fear).
Let’s start dreaming of a better, fairer, more competitive world! And a safe & healthy one for everyone.
Thank you to all contributors, whistleblowers, readers & friends of our blog. All the best to you!
Rupprecht Podszun & the D’Kart team
PS: We asked the Bundeskartellamt’s band, the Trust Sentinels, for a Christmas contribution this year, and they would have loved to support us, but rehearsing and playing music via video tools is a tough cookie. It’s a tough year for people from the arts anyway (and who would doubt that the Bundeskartellamt is an arty place?) – but luckily we can share their 2018 Antitrust Advent Calendar contribution again! Here you go! Yay!