What Is ‘Competition Law’? – Measuring EU Member States’ Leeway to Regulate Platform-to-Business Agreements
CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series 2020, final version Yearbook of European Law (YEL) 39 (2020) 320-386
58 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2020 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: August 14, 2020
If both national competition law and article 101 TFEU apply to an agreement, the former must not set rules that are stricter than the latter. Member States remain free, though, to impose stricter rules if they are not classified as ‘competition law’. We analyse relevant jurisprudence by the English and French courts that have dealt with potential conflicts between, on the one hand, EU competition law and, on the other hand, the common law restraint of trade doctrine and the pratiques restrictives de concurrence under French commercial law. We develop criteria that allow (national) ‘competition law’ to be distinguished from similar regulatory interventions into agreements that pursue purposes distinct from article 101 TFEU and which, therefore, must not be regarded as ‘competition law’. This paper illustrates and elaborates on the challenges for the implementation of our approach by focusing on the ban on the use of parity clauses by hotel booking platforms in France, Austria, Italy and Belgium. We map a possible way forward to prevent further regulatory fragmentation in the internal market with regard to the regulation of platform-to-business agreements.
Keywords: Competition Law; Regulation; Article 3(2) of Regulation 1/2003; Objective Pursued by Article 101 TFEU; Restraint of Trade Doctrine; Pratiques Restrictives De Concurrence; Platform-to-Business Agreements; Price-Parity Clauses; Regulation 2019/1150
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation