I OVERVIEW

i Prioritisation and resource allocation of the enforcement authorities

Until 2 June 2019, the competition regime in Belgium was based on two Acts, adopted by the Belgian Parliament on 3 April 2013, which inserted a new Chapter IV entitled 'Protection of Competition' and a new Chapter V entitled 'Competition and Price Evolution' into the Belgian Code of Economic Law (BCEL).

On 3 June 2019, the Act of 2 May 2019, which modified a number of the competition rules in the BCEL, entered into force. The aim of the new law was to improve enforcement and enhance the efficient operation of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA).

The BCA consists of four distinct components:

  1. the President of the BCA;
  2. the Competition College, entrusted with decision-making powers;
  3. the Competition Board; and
  4. the Prosecution Body, tasked with investigative powers under the direction of the General Prosecutor.

The Prosecution Body must play the role of an 'independent filter' in order to refuse the opening of instructions and to dismiss cases in view of the priority policy and of the available means, or because a complaint is unfounded or time-barred. The General Prosecutor has been granted the power to dismiss a case by adopting a reasoned decision.2 Such a decision is open to appeal before the President of the BCA.

The BCEL also reiterates the possibility for the Competition College to declare, in a reasoned decision, that according to the elements in its possession, there are no grounds for acting in a case submitted to it by the Prosecution Body.3

Another feature under the BCEL is the settlement procedure. A 10 per cent reduction in the antitrust fine will be offered to undertakings concluding a settlement with the General Prosecutor. In these cases, the General Prosecutor will be competent to adopt a final decision, which is deemed equivalent to a decision of the Competition College, despite the fact that no appeal can be lodged against a settlement decision. On 22 June 2015, the Prosecution Body adopted its first settlement decision in the household, body care and hygiene products case. In the mean time, this procedure has grown in popularity, with the latest settlement decision taken on 15 October 2019, in a case concerning the Professional Body of Pharmacists (see below).4

Another interesting development is the entry into force on 22 June 2017 of a Law inserting the action for damages for infringements of the competition law in Title 3 of Book XVII of the BCEL, transposing into Belgian law Directive 2014/104/EU of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union. Based on the new provisions inserted in the BCEL, any natural or legal person having suffered harm caused by an infringement of the competition law has the right to obtain full compensation for this harm. These provisions apply to any infringements of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU or of their Belgian counterparts, or of both. If there is a decision by the BCA finding an infringement, the a finding is deemed irrefutably established for follow-on damage proceedings before national courts.

ii Enforcement agenda

The BCA publishes its enforcement priorities in its yearly priority policy, a document explaining the strategic objectives that will guide its choice when selecting the cases it will focus on. In its priority policy of 2019, the BCA continues to take the following four factors into account when assessing its interest in starting an investigation into a given case:

  1. the impact of the case on the functioning of markets in Belgium and on consumers;
  2. the strategic importance of that case, notably in view of the economic sectors considered as having priority;
  3. risks: the BCA is less inclined to invest resources in the investigation of a possible infringement if there is an significant risk that the investigation cannot succeed; and,
  4. resources: the BCA also takes into consideration the amount of resources necessary to start the investigation.5

After having indicated that it will investigate every serious infringement of competition law, the BCA nevertheless specified in that document that it would focus its actions on the following economic sectors, considered as having priority:

  1. telecommunications;
  2. distribution, including relationships with suppliers;
  3. the provision of services to businesses and consumers;
  4. public procurement;
  5. pharmaceuticals; and
  6. logistics.

Specifically for public procurement, the BCA published a Guide for purchasers in charge of public contracts, which explains in detail the different types of bid-rigging. It also provides a list of indications and suggestions to detect and avoid possible collusion and concerted submissions.6

Considering the BCA's actions over the course of 2019, it is clear that it indeed focussed on the aforementioned sectors. For example, in 2019, it carried out dawn raids with respect to two investigations: one in the distribution sector and one in the pharmaceutical sector (see below). Moreover, on 8 January 2020, the BCA imposed interim measures upon the telecommunication companies Orange and Proximus in the context of their planned joint venture on network sharing.7

iii Leniency Guidelines

On 22 March 2016, the new Leniency Guidelines entered into force.8 They apply to all leniency applications submitted after that date. The most important change introduced by the Guidelines consists of practical rules for leniency applications submitted by individuals. Clarification regarding how these rules are implemented was required, particularly since the option for individuals to obtain immunity for whistle-blowing became part of the BCEL in 2013, and in light of potential sanctions against individuals for certain types of competition law infringements. Individuals are always granted full immunity, regardless of where they rank in the order of applications submitted, provided that they meet the other conditions set out in the Guidelines. In addition, the first undertaking can still enjoy full immunity even when an individual has already contacted the BCA. The Guidelines also clarify that individuals may apply for leniency alone or together with the undertaking or association of undertakings for whom they work or used to work.

Furthermore, the Guidelines introduce new reduction percentages in relation to partial exemptions. When the BCA already has information regarding the cartel, it may grant a partial reduction to undertakings that submit evidence with a significant value. The fine reduction available to the first partial leniency applicant remains the same, namely between 30 and 50 per cent. The second partial leniency applicant can obtain a reduction between 20 and 40 per cent (previously 10 to 30 per cent). Subsequent applicants can receive a 10 to 30 per cent reduction, which is the same as in the previous Guidelines. While the conditions to be respected by the applicants, including the information that they should provide, are still more or less the same as those under the former leniency provisions, the 2016 Guidelines do provide some practical clarifications. These include:

  1. the confidentiality obligations of a leniency applicant;
  2. the language to be used in the application;
  3. how to contact the Auditor General to submit such an application or to obtain information about the availability of an immunity application for the first undertaking; and
  4. the possibility of obtaining a marker.

The Guidelines are still limited to cartel cases, with the express exclusion of other types of horizontal agreements and vertical agreements. To the extent that a hub-and-spoke cartel can be qualified as a cartel, it will be covered.9

iv Guide on information exchange

On 6 October 2019, the BCA published a guide on information exchange in the context of associations of undertakings.10 The guide should be read alongside the decisional practice and the Guidelines of the European Commission on the applicability of Article 101 TFEU to horizontal cooperation agreements. The paper contains practical guidelines on (1) periodic overviews of markets, (2) price comparisons, (3) information on the anticipated development of markets and (4) tools for the calculation of costs and pricing structures.

II CARTELS

i Significant cases

Article IV.1 BCEL prohibits 'agreements between undertakings, all decisions by associations of undertakings and all concerted practices, the aim or consequence of which is to prevent, restrict or distort significantly competition in the Belgian market concerned or in a substantial part of that market'.

In January 2020, the Competition College took two decisions on interim measures. The first decision concerned the joint venture between Proximus and Orange on network sharing.11 This joint venture was opposed by their competitor Telenet, which filed a complaint. The BCA decided to suspend the implementation of the shareholders agreement and the radio access network sharing agreement concluded between Proximus and Orange until 16 March 2020 with regard to the transfer of employees. Furthermore, both companies need to inform the Competition College and Prosecution Body about their discussions with the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications by 9 March 2020 at the latest.

The second case dealt with a rule of the Belgian Golf Billiards Association (BGBA), which imposed restrictions on which balls may be used during games and competitions.12 The Competition College left the BGBA with two choices. The first option entails that the BGBA suspends all contractual and regulatory obligations to use the current exclusively authorised balls, from the start of the season 2020–2021 until receipt of the final decision on the substance. The alternative option requires the BGBA to determine the authorised balls used from the start of the season 2020–2021 after a tender for a sponsoring contract, which can only last for maximum two playing seasons.

In 2019, the BCA took one infringement decision with regard to the Professional Body of Pharmacists (PBP). This case follows on from an interim measures decision taken in 2017.13 The Competition College condemned the PBP for excluding MediCare-Market from the market for services provided by pharmacists and preventing the development of MediCare-Market's model. The measures taken by the PBP in this respect were considered to be a restriction of competition by object: legal proceedings; disciplinary actions; and defamatory actions.14 The PBP was fined €1 million. On appeal, the Brussels Market Court confirmed the infringement but annulled the decision with regard to the amount of the fine.15

Furthermore, the BCA took two other decisions involving the PBP, following a number of complaints from, inter alia, Multipharma, V-Pharma and Newpharma. First, the BCA found that the PBP restricted competition by object through prohibiting the use of certain (online) advertising practices regarding parapharmaceuticals. The case was settled, and the PBP was fined €225,000.16 Interestingly, using the new Article IV.58 CEL, the PBP also offered a number of commitments on a new deontological code and on the principle of free advertising. In a second decision concerning a specific grievance from the same complaints, the BCA accepted the same commitments from the PBP as in the other case. As a result, the case was partially dismissed.17

In 2019, the Prosecution Body also took a settlement decision with regard to vertical resale price maintenance. It imposed a fine of €98,000 on HM Products Benelux for fixing the maximum discount levels its distributors could grant. HM Products Benelux imports and distributes infrared cabins of the brand Healthmate that are used to alleviate muscle and joint pains. Abiding by the maximum discount levels was a necessary precondition for being allowed into the distributor network. The system was accompanied by price monitoring and possible sanctions. The whole system was perceived as a single and continuous infringement spanning eight years and six months. The basic amount of the fine exceeded the 10 per cent Belgian turnover threshold. As a consequence, the amount of the fine was limited to the 10 per cent ceiling. As HM Products Benelux is not part of a large international group, the BCA agreed to further reduce the fine on proportionality grounds. Finally, the amount was reduced by an additional 10 per cent because HM Products Benelux agreed to settle.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

One of the major changes under the BCEL is the introduction of the possibility of imposing administrative penalties on individuals for direct involvement in hardcore antitrust infringements (with the exception of abuse of a dominant position). At the time of writing, the BCA has not yet imposed administrative penalties on individuals on that basis. However, these sanctions have caused individuals to consider whether they would, separately or jointly with the undertaking that is their employer, file an application for immunity. This possibility has been used by individuals and it is expected that this will be a growing source of information for the BCA.

Another interesting development in 2018 was the judgment by the Belgian Supreme Court confirming the Brussels Court of Appeals 2015 ruling that the dawn raids carried out by a number of stevedores did not meet the constitutional requirements for carrying out such a raid.18 As a consequence, the BCA was prevented from using any documents collected during the dawn raids. This was ultimately one of the reasons why the BCA decided to close the investigation on 5 February 2019.

Finally, in two separate cases, the Brussels Market Court clearly established the rules for the composition of the BCA when the latter has to rule again in a case where the first decision was (partly) annulled by the Brussels Market Court. Members of the BCA who ruled on the first case cannot be part of the BCA who will rule on the same case (or part of it) the second time.19 If these rules are not respected, the second decision will be annulled by the Brussels Market Court.

iii Outlook

Over the past few years, a number of inspections have taken place, which is an indication that further decisions may be expected.

In May 2016, inspections took place of a number of Belgian undertakings operating in the sale of non-prescription products in pharmacies, given the fact that the BCA had information about possible infringements of Article IV.1 BCEL and Article 101 TFEU. In November 2016, other inspections took place at companies active in the wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical products to pharmacies in relation to alleged participation in anticompetitive agreements and concerted practices between wholesalers active in Belgium relating to services that they provide to pharmaceutical laboratories on the one hand, and to pharmacies on the other.

In May 2017, the BCA conducted a series of inspections for different suspected infringements of Article IV.1 BCEL and Article 101 TFEU. On 5 May 2017, inspections took place at the premises of one undertaking that distributes and sells water softeners. Three days later, an undertaking active in the distribution and sale of cooking utensils and wine accessories was searched by the inspectors of the BCA. Finally, on 29 May 2017, the BCA conducted searches of some manufacturers and wholesalers of tobacco products.

Also in 2018 a number of inspections were carried out. One concerned the sector of immunoglobulins and was carried out at the request of the Romanian authority. A second inspection was carried out jointly with the French authority and involved cosmetics. The last inspection carried out during 2018 concerned fire safety equipment and was carried out at one company's premises.

In 2019, the BCA carried out dawn raids in two separate investigations. The first inspection concerned the sector of mass distribution and related to a number of undertakings that were suspected to engage in anticompetitive practices in the form of a buying group.20 The supermarket Carrefour and the purchasing organisation Provera (which gathers Louis Delhaize, Cora-hypermarkets and the supermarket chains Smatch and Match) confirmed that they were subject to these dawn raids.21 The second dawn raid involved the pharmaceutical sector and related to the alleged practices of restricting, impeding and hindering the access or expansion of biosimilar drugs.22 Press reports stated that Roche Pharmaceuticals and Ghent University Hospital were subject to these investigations.

At the time of writing, none of these inspections has led to a decision of the Prosecution Body or of the Competition College.

III ANTITRUST: RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS AND DOMINANCE

i Significant cases

Article IV.1 and Article IV.2 BCEL are the Belgian competition rules equivalent to Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. As already mentioned above, Article IV.1, Section 1, BCEL includes a prohibition on anticompetitive agreements; whereas Article IV.2 BCEL forbids the abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position in the Belgian market concerned or in a substantial part of that market.

With regard to abuses of a dominant position, it is important to recall that in 2015, the Prosecution Body adopted a settlement decision in relation to an abuse of a dominant position, which was a first in Belgium.23 The European Commission, for example, does not apply the settlement procedure to abuses of a dominant position.

No infringement decisions relating to an abuse of a dominant position were taken in 2019. However, in one case the BCA imposed interim measures following a request by the Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Organisation (VRT). VRT had concluded a service level agreement with Norkring Belgium, a company that owns the telecommunication masts used by VRT for the provision of FM transmission services. As this agreement was due to expire on 5 March 2019, the VRT issued a public tender for the broadcasting of its FM programmes and awarded it to another company called Broadcast Partners. VRT complained that the continuity of its broadcasts would be compromised, given that Norkring and Broadcast Partners did not yet reach an agreement to this end. The Competition College found that, in light of avoiding damage to the general economic interest, there could be a prima facie infringement of Article IV.2 BCEL and 102 TFEU if the continuity of VRT's FM broadcasts is not ensured on and after 5 March 2019. Therefore, Norkring needs to assure the continuity of the FM broadcasts at the same financial terms which it included in the bid that it submitted during the tender procedure.24

In another case, the BCA decided to terminate an ex-officio investigation into a possible abuse of a dominance by Proximus vis-à-vis Alpha 11, a group using Proximus' network.25 Allegedly, Proximus would have impeded the launch of Alpha 11's new TV platform through artificially increasing or maintaining its costs at a high level. As the investigation did not result in sufficient elements to prove the existence of these restrictive practices, the General Prosecutor decided to close the investigation. This decision was taken in accordance with the new Article IV.45 BCEL, introduced by the Law of 2 May 2019.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

The BCA has shown its willingness to adopt settlement decisions in the past and continued to do so in 2019. Another interesting evolution to watch will be how the entry into force of the 2016 Leniency Guidelines will have an influence on the activities of the BCA and whether more leniency applications will be introduced.

Finally, decisions could be expected in the areas where dawn raids took place in the last three to four years.

IV SECTORAL COMPETITION: MARKET INVESTIGATIONS AND REGULATED INDUSTRIES

According to Article IV.47 BCEL, the Competition Board can decide, upon request of the President, the Minister or the Minister responsible for the sector concerned, that the President should carry out general or sectoral investigations, in case there are indications of market disturbances. In that regard, the President may request the assistance of the Prosecution Body. To date, the President of the BCA has not yet used his powers in this area.

V STATE AID

The BCA has no competence in the area of state aid. The European Commission is the only authority within the European Union that can approve state aid measures.

VI MERGER REVIEW

i Significant cases

In 2019, about 28 merger decisions were adopted by the BCA, which cleared the majority of the examined concentrations under the simplified procedure.26 Only one of the decisions involved commitments, namely the acquisition of sole control by Telenet (a cable network provider) over De Vijver Media (a group company active in the area of TV broadcasting, VOD services, sale of advertising and the production of television programmes).27

Aforementioned concentration was initially notified to the European Commission but was referred to the BCA following a request for referral. The transaction would result in Telenet having sole control over a vertically integrated group covering the production of content, TV-channels and a dominant distribution platform. The General Prosecutor found that on certain markets, the transaction could result in input foreclosure and partial customer foreclosure and, therefore, a significant impediment of effective competition. Telenet proposed a number of commitments, such as providing access to De Vijver's channels to other TV platforms, and the transaction was cleared subject to commitments.

Furthermore, in 2019, the BCA had to decide on an actualised request to lift all the conditions imposed on the Kinepolis Group, following the merger of two independent movie theatre companies forming Kinepolis in 1997.28 They required prior approval for any acquisition of another movie theatre even when notification thresholds were not met. The commitments even required Kinepolis to obtain prior approval for internal growth, leading to a raft of closures of movie theatres in order to replace them by others in other commercially more interesting geographic areas and to avoid the prior authorisation process for internal growth. Finally, a number of commitments were also given relating to not concluding programming agreements with independent movie theatres, and not concluding exclusivity or priority deals between Kinepolis and its daughter, KFD, which is a movie distribution company. The Competition College partially granted Kinepolis' request and decided that Kinepolis does no longer need the BCA's prior approval to establish new cinema complexes, comprising seven or fewer screens and 1,125 seats or fewer. This was further restricted as the new complex may not be established less than 10km from an already existing Kinepolis complex and the new complex may also not be extended to more than seven rooms or more than 1,125 seats. On appeal, the Brussels Market Court annulled the decision with regard to the restrictions on the lifted condition and referred the case back to a differently composed chamber of the BCA.29

As a reminder, Kinepolis already attempted to lift the conditions between 2006 and 2010. It filed a new request in 2017, resulting in a partial lifting of the conditions: as of 31 May 2019, Kinepolis was allowed to grow internally without having to apply for prior approval. However, the Brussels Market Court annulled the 2017 BCA decision in as far as that decision lifted the requirement of prior approval by the BCA for Kinepolis' internal growth.30 Following that judgment, the BCA adopted a new decision on 26 April 2018 reconfirming the lifting of the prior approval condition for internal growth as from 26 April 2020.31 That decision was again annulled by the Brussels Market Court because the BMA was composed of the identical group of individuals that took the 2017 BCA decision.32

ii Trends, developments and strategies

Belgium has turnover thresholds that are too high when compared with its economy and the average size of companies active in Belgium.

A concentration must be notified when two of the undertakings involved in the transaction each have a turnover in Belgium amounting to €40 million. In addition, all the undertakings concerned must have jointly a €100 million turnover in Belgium.33 Of course, when a concentration meets the thresholds for a notification at the EU level, no notification at the national level is required. Exceptions to this rule are the referral provisions contained in Articles 4 and 9 of Regulation 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings. Article IV.11 BCEL clearly stipulates that in the case of the referral of a transaction to the Belgian level, a new notification must be filed with the Prosecution Body.

Accordingly, only a few transactions must in principle be examined by the BCA, since operations implying undertakings that do not meet these thresholds do not have to be notified, whereas transactions implying bigger companies must rather be notified at the European level.

In May 2017, the BCA published an evaluation report regarding the notification thresholds for concentrations in Belgium. It concluded that these thresholds are already sufficiently high and should not be raised, and that there is also no need to lower them.34 The Prosecution Body nevertheless proposes that in the event that the notification thresholds would be lowered, this should happen only in relation to certain specific sectors, as this is the case in France, but not in general. In any event, the BCA indicates that a public consultation should be organised should a concrete proposal to modify the notification thresholds be discussed.

In January 2020, the Competition Board approved additional rules on the simplified procedure.35 The rules set out additional situations in which the simplified procedure may be applied, subject to conditions relating to market shares.

VII CONCLUSIONS

The volume of significant decisions rendered by the BCA is clearly increasing. In 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the BCA took a number of important decisions relating to cartel enforcement. Furthermore, the BCA was involved in a number of merger control cases. The bulk of the resources is still used in simplified merger cases.

As rightly indicated in the explanatory memorandum of the proposal for the BCEL, in view of the fact that the European Commission does not take more than eight decisions per year establishing an infringement, it cannot be expected that the Belgian authority conducts more than four investigations a year that result in the discovery of an infringement. Moreover, the BCA focuses on finding cartels, as does the Commission and many other national competition authorities. Part of the reasoning is that cartels are most damaging to consumer welfare. However, another, less encouraging, explanation is that the entire detection system is directed towards cartels (leniency is available only for cartels), and that more difficult analyses (i.e., does an agreement infringe Article 101 TFEU or Article IV.1 BCEL?) are not undertaken because of the lack of resources (legal and economic) and the greater likelihood of the Competition Authority's decision being overturned on appeal. Developments over the last three years however, seem to indicate that the BCA has now shifted up gears in imposing interim measures in several sectors, adopting commitment and settlement decisions, and, occasionally, taking on an abuse of a dominant position case.


Footnotes

1 Hendrik Viaene is a partner and Karolien Van der Putten is an associate at Deloitte Legal.

2 According to Article IV.44, Section 1 BCEL.

3 According to Article IV.52, Section 1, 1° BCEL.

4 Decision ABC-2019-P/K-34-AUD of 15 October 2019, cases CONC-P/K-10/0024 - CONC-P/K-13/0009, CONC-P/K-17/0024 and CONC-P/K-17/0030 - Multipharma/V-Pharma/B./Newpharma.

5 BCA, Priority Policy 2019, 19 February 2019, available on the BCA website.

6 BCA, Samenspanning bij overheidsopdrachten: een gids voor inkopers bij overheden, 31 January 2017, available on the BCA website.

7 BCA, Press release No. 2/2020, 10 January 2020, available on the BCA website.

8 BCA, Leniency Guidelines, 1 March 2016, available on the BCA website.

9 The BCA has already granted immunity and leniency in a hub-and-spoke cartel case in 2015; See decision No. ABC-2015-I/O-19-AUD of 22 June 2015, case CONC-I/O-06/0038, Hausses coordonnées des prix de vente de produits de parfumerie, d'hygiène et de droguerie, available on the BCA website.

10 BCA, Gids: Uitwisseling van informatie in het kader van ondernemingsverenigingen, 1 October 2019, available on the BCA website.

11 BCA, Press release No. 2/2020, 10 January 2020, available on the BCA website.

12 BCA, Press Release No. 5/2020, 24 January 2020, available on the BCA website.

13 Decision ABC-2017-V/M-24 of 19 June 2017, case CONC-V/M-17/0017 - MediCare Market.

14 Decision ABC-2019-I/O-14 of 28 May 2019, case CONC-I/O-16/0011 - MediCare Market - Ordre des Pharmaciens,

15 Brussels Market Court, 8 January 2020, 2019/MR/3.

16 Decision ABC-2019-P/K-34-AUD of 15 October 2019, cases CONC-P/K-10/0024 - CONC-P/K-13/0009, CONC-P/K-17/0024 and CONC-P/K-17/0030, Multipharma/V-Pharma/B./Newpharma.

17 Decision ABC-2019-P/K-35-AUD of 15 October 2019, cases CONC-P/K-10/0024 - CONC-P/K-13/0009, CONC-P/K-17/0024 and CONC-P/K-17/0030, Multipharma/V-Pharma/B./Newpharma.

18 Supreme Court, 26 April 2018, case c.15.0524.N.

19 Brussels Market Court, 7 August 2018, 2018/AR/1293, and Brussels Market Court, 21 November 2018, 2018/MR/3.

20 BCA, Press Release No. 15/2019, 20 May 2019, available on the BCA website.

21 De Tijd, 'Concurrentiewaakhond doet huiszoekingen bij Carrefour België', 21 May 2019.

22 BCA, Press Release No. 32/2019, 8 October 2019.

23 Decision BMA-2015/K-28-AUD of 22 September 2015, cases MEDE-P/K-13/0012 and CONC-P/K-13/0013, Stanleybet Belgium NV/Stanley International Betting Ltd and Sagevas SA/World Football Association SPRL/Samenwerkende Nevenmaatschappij Belgische PMU SCRL, available on the BCA website.

24 Decision BMA-2019-V/M-01 of 22 January 2019, cases MEDE-V/M-18/0043, Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie/Norkring België.

25 Decision BMA-2019-I/O-21-AUD of 10 July 2019, case MEDE-I/O-19/0009, Proximus/Alpha 11.

26 17 out of 28 cases in 2019. The simplified procedure can only be used if certain conditions are met, for instance if two or more of the parties to the concentration are engaged in business activities in the same product and geographical market (horizontal relationships) provided that their combined market share is less than 25 per cent. The simplified procedure has the advantage that the prosecutor will render a decision within 15 working days. See the rules adopted by the General Assembly of the Competition Council on 8 June 2007, available on the BCA website.

27 Decision BMA-2019-C/C-16 of 13 May 2019, case MEDE-C/C-19/0006, Telenet Group BVBA/De Vijver Media NV.

28 Decision BMA-2019-C/C-13 of 25 March 2019, case MEDE-C/C-17/0014, Kinepolis.

29 Brussels Market Court, 2019/MR/2, 23 October 2019.

30 Brussels Market Court, 2017/AR/1139, joined with 2017/MR/1, 28 February 2018.

31 Decision BMA-2018-C/C-12 of 26 April 2018, case MEDE-C/C-17/0014, Kinepolis.

32 Brussels Market Court, 21 November 2018, 2018/MR/3.

33 Article IV.7 BCEL.

34 BCA, Evaluation des seuils de notification des concentration en Belgique, 16 May 2017, available on the BCA website.

35 BCA, Press release No. 4/2020, 20 January 2020; Belgian Official Journal, 20 January 2020.