HomeInsightsEuropean Commission publishes Inception Impact Assessment in relation to its evaluation of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (330/2010/EU)

Article by

The current Vertical Block Exemption Regulation expires on 31 May 2022. The Commission has been carrying out an evaluation of the Regulation and associated Vertical Guidelines to gather evidence on their functioning in order to decide whether they should lapse, be renewed in their current form, or be revised.

In September 2020, it published a Staff Working Document summarising the findings of its evaluation and announced that it would launch an impact assessment to look into the policy options for a revision of the rules in order to address the issues identified. It has now published its Impact Assessment for consultation.

The evaluation identified certain areas where the rules might not function well or as well as they could, because they appear not well adapted to market developments (notably the growth of online sales and new market players, such as online platforms), not sufficiently clear, do not address certain issues or do not reflect recent case law.

The Impact Assessment assesses policy options for a potential revision of the Regulation in certain areas and seeks to address the problems identified during the evaluation.

In particular, the Commission is contemplating changes to the current regime in relation to dual distribution – i.e. where suppliers sell their goods or services directly to end customers in competition with their distributors at retail level; active sales restrictions; indirect measures restricting online sales (including dual pricing), and most-favoured nation/parity obligations.

The consultation on the Impact Assessment is open for four weeks until 20 November 2020. To access the relevant documents, click here. A more detailed Impact Assessment that will be publish for public consultation at the end of 2020.