Archive for the ‘ChillinLeaks’ Category
A decent fiction or joke should generally aspire to have some element of truth in it. In our April Fools’ day piece on the appointment of Joaquín Almunia as new EU judge there were, at least, a couple of criticisms elements that had a significant link with reality, and there have been recent developments concerning the two of them:
-A first element of reality was contained in the paragraph that said that “[t]he appointment would take place within the timely addition to the Court of 12 more judges, just when the existing ones had managed to clear the backlog”.
That news could have been a joke in its own right, but it really wasn’t, it was criticism to In fact, a piece published in today’s Financial Times “Judges multiply as EU states fail to agree on appointments” (by Duncan Robinson) is devoted to this reality. The piece does well explaining the poor job that Member States do when it comes to Court-related decisions. In a nutshell, after years of the Court asking for additional staff to clear the backlog in the face of a Council that could not take decisions because of national interests at play, it was decided to hire additional référendaires (clerks); between that and the increased productivity of the existing judges the General Court managed to half the time needed to decide cases. And now, when the problem seems to be solved, Member States are doubling the number of judges. The FT reports that some judges are unhappy (I bet). An arguably wrong and certainly extemporaneous decision to remedy their own inaction. Congrats to the Council for once again giving arguments to those who distrust EU institutions (please note the irony).
-A second reason why our hoax piece may have been taken seriously by some related to our references to how politics could play a role in the selection process adopted by the Spanish government despite the new introduction of a new merit-based appointments procedure. This was really feared by some. Concerns, fortunately, seem to have been misplaced, at least for now: Chillin’Competition is proud to be the first to report that the Spanish Government has made an excellent and truly merit-based choice for new Spanish Advocate General in the name of Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona, currently a Supreme Court Judge and formerly, among others, a référendaire at the ECJ. His track record at the Supreme Court, where he dealt, among others, with many competition cases makes him a highly reputed figure in the antitrust community. A great addition to ECJ and very good news for EU law, albeit possibly at the expense of the sound development of competition law in Spain.
Consumer Watchdog, a US organization traditionally positioned againts Google, has just
made available leaked on its website the (supposedly confidential) new version of Google’s proposed commitments (see here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/googlesettlment102113.pdf ) together with the Commission’s questionnaire to interested third parties (see here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/euquestions102113.pdf).
This organization had threatened Google with making the proposal public in case Google didn’t do it (see here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-challenges-google-make-eu-antitrust-settlement-offer-public-us-public). Julian Assange and Edward Snowden would may applaud the move, but I’m not so sure as to DG Comp (the fact that the names, telephone numbers and emails of its case handlers have also been made public as part of the questionnaire might contribute to flooding -even more- their inboxes…).
I’d bet that Consumer Watchdog has received some sort of advice under EU law and learnt that, interestingly, the Commission has no legal basis to act in a situation like this. Isn’t that a significant procedural gap?
You already know my thoughts about the substance of the previous proposal (if not, click here: https://chillingcompetition.com/2013/06/13/preliminary-thoughts-on-googles-proposed-commitments/ ), so not much else to say on that front.
Following the political turmoil caused by Mario Monti’s announced resignation, and in order to achieve a compromise solution to Italy’s political deadlock, Silvio Berlusconi has been nominated as the new Italian Judge before the European Court of Justice.
In a press release issued a few minutes ago, the Italian Government states that:
“Berlusconi is the ideal candidate for the job: there is no other Italian citizen with more experience in Court proceedings, and his contribution to European criminal law is beyond question“.
Chillin’Competition has learnt that Mr. Berlusconi has already initiated the recruiting process for his new clerks. We have had exclusive access to a picture taken outside the villa where the interviews are being held; the picture conveys the sense of excitement and urgency prevalent among candidates to the job (see here).
The content of the tests remains confidential, but our sources tell us that there will be no written part.
Chillin’Competition’s Christmas contest
This is obviously a joke, but it’s also the opening post for a new game. Some of you certainly are (or should) be familiar with sites such as The Onion (Spaniards woud rather follow Elmundotoday). We want to play after them. That’s why we are setting up a contest for the funniest competition law fake news 😉
We are giving out a special pack of Christmas delicacies from my family’s bakery to the person who sends us the funniest fake news. We donñt care about length: they can be one page, one line, even just a headline could do the trick.
We’ll hold a public vote next Friday.
Heard three weeks ago in Hong Kong: our antitrust master, our antitrust icon, our antitrust god Prof. Richard Whish – who will be leaving King’s College London in August 2013 – would be a strong contender for a high-level position at the forthcoming Hong Kong Competition Authority.
Heard last week in Brussels: people close from the
Court case have leaked to Chillin’Competition that the draft ruling in Intel v. Commission (T-286/09) will likely be an outstanding piece of nonsense ordoliberalism. Not yet out, and we already have a candidate for the worst 102 judgment of 2012. Wow!
A few days ago it was reported that the Danish presidency had proposed that 12 extra Judges to the General Court be appointed pursuant to a “lottery system”. At first we thought it was an April’s fools joke, but no, it’s actually a true story.
We have already expressed here some of our opinions with respect to the debate concerning the reform of the General Court. In our view, people matter more than institutional arrangements; or, in other words, if Member States appoint the right Judges then the backlog and most other problems could be effectively solved. Many Member States have already done so and, needless to say, there are currently a number incredibly good and productive Judges at the General Court.
And speaking of judicial nominations, EU Governments are meeting this week to vote on the appointments or re-appointments of a number of Judges and Advocates General at the upper ECJ.
It has been reported elsewhere that EU Governments will reappoint Judges Arabadjiev, Arestis, Berger, Bonichot, Fernlund, Jarasiunas, Levits, Malenovsky, Prechal and Von Danwitz as well as AG Bot, and that the new faces will be Judge Da Cruz Villaça (Portuguese; former President of the GC and very familiar with competition law issues) and Advocates General Nils Wahl (Swedish; former Judge at the GC and another very good competition expert) and Melchior Wathelet (Belgian; lawyer and economist from the University of Liège with a Harvard LL.M; also former Judge at the ECJ).
What we believe no one else has yet reported is that the UK has formally nominated a renowned competition lawyer, Christopher Vajda QC, as the new British Judge at the ECJ. The letter sent to the Council by the UK´s permanent representation officially informing them of the proposal (and including Mr. Vajda’s CV and list of publications) is publicly available here.
advertised announced yesterday, on September 30th the GCLC will be holding a major conference on the Reform of State Aid Rules on Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) in Bruges.
The conference couldn´t be more timely, because last Friday the European Commission launched a public consultation on some proposed new texts regarding the application of State aid rules to SGEIs.
This reform is set to be one of the highlights of Commissioner Almunia´s tenure. The Commission has been working on this for some time, and we can provide you with some insights on how they have undertaken this work.
A famous quote by John Godfrey Saxe -often attributed to Otto von Bismarck- states that “law and sausage are two things you do not want to see being made.”
Sure you don´t? We´ll show you anyway😉
In the case of sausages, they are basically made like this:
And if you want to see part of the process of how law is made, check out this first draft of the SGEIs package that was circulated amongst the European Commission´s services under the coordination of the Commission´s General Secretariat, and promoted by Commissioners Almunia, Andor and Barnier:
It includes some highlighted internal comments, my favourite being this one:
“[voir absolument son [Judge Lenaert´s] intervention postée sur youTube in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L52IhxqxUXo ]”
It´s good to know that European Commission officials share our (and CPI´s) taste for competition law videos.
Note: We received this some months ago because our addressess were included in a large mailing list (no kidding).
Last Thursday we wrote this:
“Another significant move(s) to a new entrant in the Brussels market will be announced in the coming days (it involves a couple of well-known names). (Can´t say much more; you can consider this to be an incomplete Chillin´Leak)”.
This anticipated move has been confirmed today. As those who clicked the link we had included here last week already knew, the new entrant is Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a well known US law firm that specializes in antitrust in high tech industries and with an impressive portfolio of clients including Google in the US.
Wilson Sonsini´s Brussels office will be led by Michael Rosenthal (until now Partner at Hunton&Williams), who will be accompanied by Partners Götz Drauz (formerly Deputy Director General at DG Comp and former Partner at Howrey and Shearman Sterling) and Paul McGeown (formerly also Partner at Hunton&Williams and avid reader of this blog). Together with them goes a team of associates, including counsel Mathieu Guillaumond and associates Alexandros Papanikolaou, Juliette Orologas and Benjamin Record.
Last week we had only mentioned “a couple of well-known names” because, to be frank, we only knew about Drauz and Rosenthal, and have just found out that Paul McGeown, Alex Papanikolaou and the rest of the team were also involved. Best of luck to all of them and to Wilson Sonsini!
This proves once again our ability to give you fresh news ;) (even though this time the news was incomplete because providing names was a bit delicate). Competition for competition
leaks news is actually quite tough, with excellent guys our there such as Mlex or GCR. In addition to them, we discovered this summer that the actual Wikileaks (which, by the way, has later turned out not to be so concerned with human rights as it seemed) is also active in this market niche: Wikileaks releases US diplomatic cable about Oracle-Sun merger deal
Stay tuned for more Chillin´Leaks…