The EU’s New Draft Horizontal Antitrust Rules – A Snapshot | White & Case srl

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On March 1, 2022, the European Commission (“EC”) published for consultation two revised draft horizontal block exemption (“HBER”) regulations on research and development (“R&D”) and specialization agreements, as well as a revised draft of horizontal guidelines on cooperation (“Horizontal Guidelines”).

The stated objective of the EC is to facilitate business cooperation in areas such as R&D and production, but also in activities such as sustainability initiatives. The EC is aware that collaboration between competitors can be essential to achieve environmental objectives and that the current lack of legal certainty can deter companies from introducing sustainability initiatives. The revised horizontal guidelines provide new guidance on sustainability agreements, information sharing, mobile infrastructure sharing agreements and bidding consortia.

The EC is seeking views on the projects by April 26, 2022. The EC’s new horizontal rules and guidelines will come into force on January 1, 2023. The EC is also currently revising its vertical rules, with the new rules set to come into force June 1. 2022 (see our previous alert on the vertical reform of the EC).

Key revisions

Reform timetable

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