The French Competition Authority Publishes Its Roadmap For 2020

Author:Mr Renaud Christol and Marc-Antoine Picquier
Profession:August Debouzy
 
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In 2019, the French Competition Authority (hereinafter the "Authority") focused in particular on digital issues, the distribution sector and competition in French overseas territories. In its press release of January 9, 20201, in which it announced its "priorities for the year 2020", it indicated that these subjects would remain at the forefront for the year 2020 and others would also be on its agenda.

Digital

Digital will remain at the core of the reflections and actions that the Authority wants to carry out in 2020.

It aims to better assess the "economic changes brought about by the digital revolution (particularly in the distribution sector)", to take into account economic developments such as the impact of the digital revolution in the financial sector (dematerialised financial services, fintechs, blockchains, etc.) and "to be able to prevent and punish new forms of agreements or abuse of dominant position". In particular, the sectors of collection and exploitation of personal data, the use of algorithms and online advertising will be particularly targeted. In this respect, the Authority confirmed that it would examine, in March 2020, the request for interim measures submitted by several players in the press sector on the modalities of related rights implementation.

In order to play this ambitious role, the Authority will set up a Digital Economy Unit, which will report directly to the "Rapporteur General". The aim of this unit will be to develop an expertise on all digital issues and to provide the best possible understanding of these issues in the context of companies' mergers or anti-competitive practices. New tools will be developed for this purpose, particularly with regard to investigation methods. Cooperation with academics, specialised research institutions, regulatory authorities, government units and other competition authorities at European and International level will also be set up. The set-up of this new unit is concomitant with the establishment of the digital expertise division that will be set up by the Government.

The Authority intends to participate in the work dedicated to the implementation of a new legal framework relating to the competitive issues associated with platforms.

At the international level, the Authority will continue its efforts with the G7 competition authorities to identify common approaches to the competitive assessment of digital issues, which it believes is crucial. A conference on this subject...

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