ARTICLE
21 December 2023

EU Emergency Response Update – Key Policy & Regulatory Developments No. 109

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Jones Day

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This regular alert covers key regulatory developments related to EU emergency responses, including in particular to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine...
European Union Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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This regular alert covers key regulatory developments related to EU emergency responses, including in particular to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, COVID-19, and cyber threats. It does not purport to provide an exhaustive overview of developments.

This regular update expands from the previous COVID-19 Key EU Developments – Policy & Regulatory Updates (last issue No. 99).

LATEST KEY DEVELOPMENTS

Competition & State Aid

  • Director-General of DG COMP speaks at European Competition Day
  • European Court of Auditors publishes Special Report on Recovery and Resilience Facility's performance monitoring framework
  • European Commission approves further schemes under new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to support economy in context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and accelerating green transition and reducing fuel dependencies
  • European Commission approves further scheme to compensate for damage due to COVID- 19 crisis

Trade / Export Controls

  • Anti-Coercion Instrument adopted
  • European Commission publishes Third Annual Report on screening of foreign direct investments
  • 11th meeting of EU-US Task Force on Energy Security

Medicines and Medical Devices

  • Commission releases Communication on Addressing Medicine Shortages in the EU
  • European Commission authorizes adapted COVID-19 vaccine

Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection

  • ENISA publishes Threat Landscape 2023 Report
  • European Commission adopts Work Programme for 2024

COMPETITION & STATE AID

Competition

Director-General of DG COMP speaks at European Competition Day (see here)

On 17 October 2023, Olivier Guersant, Director-General of DG COMP, gave the keynote speech at the annual European Competition Day* on the topic of "Working towards a global 'level-playing field'". Director-General Guersant addressed the below issues in particular, stating his views as follows:

  • State aid policy is challenged by global and political trends, ranging from when foreign states weaponize vital supply chains, to the compelling case for industrial aid that addresses specific 'market failures', such as in relation to the green and digital transitions.

    However, he also emphasized that the most basic principle of State aid must apply to all EU industrial policy, i.e., government money should never be put towards an investment that the private sector would otherwise be able to make.

    In this respect, he stated that the unwinding of State aid provided under the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework must commence, as the worst of the energy crisis is now over. While remaining sensitive to the importance of the pace of the phase-out, Director-General Guersant expressed that what is most vital is the signal to markets: they cannot expect that the aid to remedy serious disturbances will remain available indefinitely, as there is no substitute for competitiveness in the long term.

  • On foreign subsidies, while the EU wants the openness and benefits that come with foreign investment, it must be fair. Ensuring such fairness is the intended aim of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), whose notification obligations became applicable on 12 October 2023 (see also Jones Day EU Emergency Response Update No. 105 of 31 August 2023).

    As the first notifications arrive, Director-General Guersant indicated that the Commission will ensure, and improve where needed, the balance between the Commission's need to get the most relevant information for assessing cases, while not creating an overly onerous regulatory burden.

    He expects a gradual ramping-up of FSR activities in the coming months and encourages businesses to:
    • seek clarifications on the FSR in pre-notification contacts; and
    • come forth with concrete information about a competitor getting financial contributions from a third country that may cause a distortion on the internal market.

  • This conference is held during each Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is attended by the European competition authorities, the European Commission, ministries and other experts in the field of competition policy


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