This regular alert covers key regulatory developments related to EU emergency responses, including in particular, to COVID-19, Russia's war of aggression on against Ukraine, 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
- European Commission adopts merger simplification package
- European Commission publishes State aid Scoreboard 2022
- European Commission approves French measure to support new ?7.4 billion microchips plant
- 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 schemes to compensate for damage due to COVID-19 crisis
Trade / Export Controls
- European Commission and Council of the European Union announce anti-corruption package
- Council of the European Union expands sanctions against Iran and proposed 11th package of sanctions underway
Medicines and Medical Devices
- European Commission publishes proposed reform of EU pharmaceutical legislation
- EDPS publishes Annual Report 2022
Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection
- EDPS publishes Annual Report 2022
- EU Digital Markets Act now applicable
- European Commission designates first set of very large online platforms and search engines under DSA
COMPETITION & STATE AID
|European Commission adopts merger simplification package (see here)||
On 20 April 2023, the Commission adopted a package of three measures in view of further simplifying procedures for reviewing concentrations under the EU Merger Regulation: (1) a revised Merger Implementing Regulation (Implementing Regulation); (2) a Notice on Simplified Procedure (Notice); and (3) a Communication on the transmission of documents (Communication).
In announcing the package, Executive Vice-President and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated:
"Reducing administrative burden is a Commission-wide priority. The 2023 Merger simplification package adopted today widens the scope of our simplified procedure to review unproblematic mergers. The new rules also make the notification process significantly easier for the parties to the benefit not only of companies and advisors but also of the Commission, which will be able to focus its resources on the most complex cases."
The primary changes of the 2023 merger simplification package aimed at streamlining merger review include, among others:
For the simplified procedure:
For the non-simplified procedure:
On transmitting documents to the Commission, the new Communication introduces electronic notifications by default, and notably:
The new rules under the merger simplification package will be applicable as of 1 September 2023.
|European Commission publishes State aid Scoreboard 2022 (see here)||
On 24 April 2023, the Commission released the State aid Scoreboard 2022.* The Scoreboard is the Commission's benchmarking instrument for State aid, launched in July 2001 in view of providing a transparent and publicly accessible source of information on the Commission's State aid control activities and the overall State aid situation in the Member States.
Timeframe covered. The 2022 Scoreboard is based on State aid expenditure made by Member States in 2021 and provides updates of State aid expenditure in the previous years. Thus, the 2022 Scoreboard does not cover State aid expenditure under the Temporary Crisis Framework to support the economy in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, adopted on 23 March 2022 (as replaced by the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework for State Aid on 9 March 2023).
Sustained impact of pandemic. The Scoreboard highlights that Member States continued to disburse "massive amounts" of State aid to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic's profound economic effects. In 2021, the 27 Member States spent approximately ?335 billion under State aid measures for all objectives (or some 2.3% of their combined 2021 GDP), excluding aid to railways and Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI).
The Scoreboard further observes that in 2021, Member States appeared to reduce their spending capacity for non-COVID crisis objectives. Compared to 2020, State aid expenditure in 2021 by Member States decreased by - 1.9% (i.e. ?6.17 billion) after adjusting for inflation. However, the expenditure related to the COVID-19 crisis increased by 4.7% in constant prices (i.e. ?8.6 billion), and support for other measures decreased by 1.7% (i.e. ?2.43 billion). More specifically:
State aid expenditure data gathered by DG Competition is available on its data repository webpage hosted by EUROSTAT (see here).
* For the State aid Scoreboard 2021, see Jones Day COVID-19 Update No. 86 of 8 September 2022.
Lucie Fournier (Associate), Cecelia Kye (Consultant), and Justine Naessens (Associate) in the Brussels Office contributed to this update.
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