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Archive for April 27th, 2012

The Friday Slot (9) – Damien Geradin

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This 9th edition of the Friday Slot features an interview with Damien Geradin (Covington & Burling, TILEC). I owe a lot to Damien. If Alfonso ever did me the honour to invite me on the Friday Slot, I would explain that Damien is the one who really got me into competition law. We met at the College of Europe, where I was his student. Came the end of the year, he offered me a research assistant position in Liege. I took it, and he then taught me how to write, introduced me to the more economic approach of EU competition law and taught me that all established truths – and in particular legal principles – deserve to be discussed. I will never be grateful enough for all the things he brought me. More generally, in the competition community, Damien is known for his many powerful papers on abuse of dominance law. He is also amongst the very few EU law scholars who managed to obtain a teaching position in a US university, and to reach position 40 in the ssrn ranking of top authors for law. We are immensely happy to publish his interview today.  

Oscar” of the best competition law book?  And of the best non-competition law book?

I have never really used any competition law book (as when I am looking for a piece of information, I am rather trying to find the relevant law review article), so it is a hard question to answer.  The Antitrust Paradox of Robert Bork was certainly very influential and a good read, but it was flatly wrong on some points.

Mémoires d’Hadrien by Marguerite Yourcenar is a fabulous historical novel, which I read when I was a teenager. Since then, I have read very many books, but none exceeded the level of perfection and erudition of that book. Albert Speer’s memoir Inside the Third Reich is also a book that needs to be read (as it explains how the unthinkable happened), although I regretted that Speer did not express stronger regrets for his actions.

Oscar” of the best case-law development in the past year? “Oscar” of the worst case-law development?

Although this is not a case-law development, I think that the Commission did a fine job with the guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements. The Commission managed to find a good balance on some complex and sensitive issues.

As to the worst case-law development, the ECJ judgment in TeliaSonera is a terrible piece of work. It will be hard to explain to future generation of students why margin squeeze is conceptually different from refusal to supply, and why the condition of essentiality that must be met in refusal to supply cases doesn’t apply to margin squeeze cases. This leads to patently absurd results.

Let’s do it like economists => assume that you could change 3 rules, principles, judgments, institutions in the current EU competition system. What would you do?

1. I would split investigative and decision-making functions in EU competition cases. No one would create enforcement agency combining such functions today. There is a large consensus among scholars and practitioners that such a reform is needed even if it is resisted by the Commission. How this should be done in practice is subject to discussion and various modalities could be envisaged. But the principle that no authority should combine investigative and decision-making functions is fundamental.

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Written by Nicolas Petit

27 April 2012 at 3:22 pm

Posted in The Friday Slot