I OVERVIEW

The French Competition Authority (FCA) is the administrative body in charge of enforcing European and domestic competition rules in France. In 2019, it issued 26 contentious decisions, of which 14 imposed fines amounting to an aggregate €630 million. This total amount shows a significant increase compared to previous years (€240 million in 2018, €498 million in 2017), although it still falls short of crossing the €1 billion mark reached in the record years of 2014 and 2015. Of the 14 decisions imposing fines this year:

  1. 10 sanctioned cartels and anticompetitive agreements, under Article L.420-1 of the French Commercial Code and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);
  2. one sanctioned an abuse of a dominant position, under Article L.420-2 of the French Commercial Code and Article 102 TFEU;
  3. two sanctioned unjustified exclusive imports rights to the French overseas territories, under Article L.420-2-1 of the French Commercial Code; and
  4. one sanctioned an obstruction to the conduct of inspections by the FCA, under Article L.464-2, V, 2 of the French Commercial Code.

As to its merger control attributions, the FCA issued 270 decisions in 2019,2 which included 269 decisions authorising the notified transaction3 and one decision reviewing commitments and injunctions in a previously cleared transaction.

2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the FCA, created in March 2009 to replace the former Competition Council. The 2008 Law on Modernisation of the Economy which had set up the new institution entrusted it with the power to review mergers, a prerogative that previously lay with the Ministry of the Economy. It also vastly increased its investigative powers compared to those of the former Competition Council and allowed it to take up any competition issue for an opinion on its own initiative. On the occasion of this 10th anniversary, the FCA carried out an assessment of its impact on the French economy and evaluated that its action over 10 years had resulted in a total gain of nearly €14 billion, including €9.5 billion in avoided costs and €4.5 billion in fines collected.

2019 also saw new appointments at the FCA. Among others, Juliette Théry-Schultz was appointed Chief of the Legal Service, a specialist service directly reporting to the President of the Authority, and Jean-Pierre Bonthoux became Hearing Adviser, a mediator position created to assist companies and prevent or defuse difficulties in the exercise of their rights before the Authority.

In addition, the Board of the FCA welcomed several new members this year. The Board is the FCA's body in charge of deliberating and adopting decisions, which are made collectively except where the President or a Vice President can rule alone. The Board is made up of 17 members, five of which (the President and four Vice Presidents) perform their functions on a full-time basis whereas the 12 others are non-permanent. In March, two new Vice Presidents and eight new non-permanent members were appointed, while three previous members were renewed.

In 2019, the FCA maintained a particular attention toward the digital economy, the audiovisual and media sector, agriculture, distribution and energy. The French overseas departments were also among the priority lines of action. Furthermore, the process of procedural reform and modernisation of the FCA continued, with a significant increase of its investigative powers and further changes to merger control proceedings.

These and other relevant developments of 2019 are discussed below.

II CARTELS

The enforcement of Articles L.420-1 of the French Commercial Code and 101 TFEU, which prohibit anticompetitive practices and cartels, is one of the prime missions of the FCA. In 2019, the Authority issued four decisions that could classify as cartels (even though the enforcer now rarely uses that terminology), fining a total of 13 undertakings for an aggregate amount of €479 million. This figure shows a significant increase compared to previous years (€205 million in 2018, €203 million in 2016). Tackling cartels remains one of the FCA's priority when allocating resources, and the enforcer was also very active on the investigation front this year.

i Significant cases

The FCA handed down the biggest fines of the year in December, sanctioning a cartel between four issuers of employee restaurant vouchers for a total of €415 million.4 The meal voucher sector is highly concentrated, made up of four historical operators, while the remaining players hold less than 1.5 per cent of the market. The FCA found that two sets of practices had been implemented by these four operators, also involving the central office in charge of processing and settlement. First, the four issuers had exchanged confidential information relating to their respective market share on a monthly basis for five years, via the central office. Second, they had adopted various agreements in order to freeze the market, including a signed agreement prohibiting issuers from developing a payment platform to manage the processing of dematerialised vouchers.

Also in December, the FCA sanctioned six compote manufacturers for having agreed on prices and allocated customers, for a total fine of €58 million.5 The enforcer's investigation was set off by a leniency application, followed by dawn raids. The Authority deemed that the practices at hand were especially serious, all the more so considering the very secret nature of the cartel. The damage to the economy, which is the second component in the calculation of the fine after seriousness, was also significant. Quite remarkably, the FCA decided to raise a company's fine by 65 per cent on the grounds that it belonged to a large group and that the value of sales taken into account in the calculation of its fine was, therefore, only a fraction of the group's total resources. Though it is not rare for the FCA to apply this aggravating circumstance, such a high proportion is unusual. Regarding mitigating circumstances, a company had its fine reduced by 15 per cent for having disrupted the cartel and continuing to implement an aggressive commercial policy.

As for the courts, 2019 saw a new decision from the Paris Court of Appeal in the case of the flour cartels. Originally, the FCA issued a decision in 2012 by which it fined a Franco-German cartel on the one hand, and French millers for two anticompetitive agreements on the other. A first ruling from the Court of Appeal in 2014 upheld the FCA's decision regarding the Franco-German cartel, but deemed that the anticompetitive nature of the agreements between French millers was not established. The case was then brought to the Court of Cassation (the French highest court for criminal and civil appeal), which issued its ruling in 2016. As to the Franco-German cartel, it quashed the appeal decision with regards to two companies specifically, establishing that the length of the involvement held against them was excessive compared to the limited amount of proof; as far as the domestic agreements were concerned, it quashed the appeal decision fully. The case was, therefore, sent back to the Paris Court of Appeal, which issued its decision in July 2019.6 The two companies involved in the Franco-German cartel appearing again before the Court had the duration of their infringement, and therefore their fine, drastically cut down, from €17 million to €5.7 million for the one, and €11.8 million to €334 000 for the other. As for the two French anticompetitive agreements, the Court confirmed the FCA's decision (including aspects it had overruled in 2014, such as the damaging nature of the practices), but reduced fines for five companies by a total of €105.5 million, since the infringement was deemed less serious than the FCA had established. Inability to pay was also taken into account for some.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

Increased investigative powers

The PACTE bill from 22 May 2019 has given a new power to the enforcer, which will now be able to access data from electronic communications for the purpose of its investigations into potential anticompetitive practices. The FCA will have to request access to a newly created Connection Data Request Supervisor. If that request is granted, it will be able to access information such as the duration of a call or recipients' numbers.

Severe sanctions over obstruction to dawn raids

The FCA has sanctioned an undertaking for obstructing the course of inspections being carried out on its premises.7 Two incidents were reported during the dawn raids, namely a breach of seals and a disruption of the functioning of electronic messaging systems while there were being searched. The FCA imposed a €900 000 fine. This is the second time the FCA has sanctioned an undertaking for obstructing dawn raids, the first being a €30 million fine in 2017.8

iii Outlook

The FCA's investigation services were particularly active this year, and some of the most notable probes made public in 2019 could lead to important cases in the years to come.9 Companies that had their premises raided by the FCA came from sectors such as luxury watch retail, services to nuclear installations, wine and spirits, crystal component distribution and VAT refund services. In addition, the FCA carried out dawn raids in the inter-island air passenger traffic sector in La Réunion and in the port service activities sector in Mayotte. Finally, the Austrian competition authority and the FCA jointly reported inspections in the automatic swimming pool cleaning equipment distribution sector.

III ANTITRUST: RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS AND DOMINANCE

The FCA's antitrust enforcement activity, other than cartels, covers restrictive agreements under Articles L.420-1 of the French Commercial Code and/or 101 TFEU and abuse of dominance under Articles L.420-2 and/or 102. In addition, the FCA is also in charge of sanctioning unjustified exclusive imports in the French overseas territories.

i Significant cases

In December, the FCA fined Google €150 million for abusing its dominant position in the online search advertising market.10 The Authority had started investigating Google's dominance as early as 2015, following a complaint filed by a publisher after its Google Ads account had been suspended without notice. The enforcer rejected its request for urgent interim measures, but still continued its investigation into the merits of the case. It eventually found that Google Ads operating rules were applied under non-objective, non-transparent and discriminatory conditions. It especially noted that those rules lacked transparency and objectivity to the point that it was very difficult for advertisers to understand and follow them. Meanwhile, this opacity allowed Google to discretionarily change its interpretation of those rules when deciding whether a site was compliant or not. In addition to the fine, the FCA ordered Google to clarify the wording of Google Ads operating rules as well as the terms of the suspension procedure.

In a far-reaching decision dated 16 January 2020,11 the FCA established that a merger could not in itself constitute an abuse of a dominant position. In October 2016, TDF had completed the acquisition of Itas without prior clearance, since the transaction exceeded neither French nor European thresholds for mandatory notification. In November 2017, a competitor lodged a complaint to the FCA challenging the transaction by arguing it constituted an abuse of a dominant position by TDF. The complaint mainly relied on the famous Continental Can decision, in which the European Court of Justice had ruled that 'the strengthening of the position of an undertaking may be an abuse and prohibited . . . if it has the effect of substantially fettering competition'.12 However, the FCA noted that the Continental Can ruling had been decided before the creation of a regime of compulsory and prior control of mergers in 1989. The adoption of that new regime, which, in particular, allowed for transactions to be referred by domestic authorities to the European Commission even when they fell below the thresholds, rendered the application of the Continental Can case law obsolete. In the end, the FCA emphatically stated that the procedures applicable to concentrations and those applicable to anticompetitive practices were incompatible and irreconcilable. Since no abuse could thus be established, the procedure was closed. This clear distinction between merger control and the prohibition of anticompetitive practices as two distinct areas of a law provides much welcome legal certainty, although it surely will strengthen the FCA's stance for the creation of an ex post merger control regime (see below).

In April 2019, the FCA dismissed a case investigating a potential abuse of dominance by TF1, in the form of discount and matching practices in the television advertising market.13 The enforcer found that neither of these practices was established; however, beyond the outcome of the case, the decision is especially noteworthy because of the FCA's renewed analysis of the television broadcasting and advertising markets. The last time the FCA had analysed TF1's market position, it had established that the group was dominant on both broadcasting and TV advertising. In its latest decision, the enforcer acknowledged the significant and rapid evolution of competition dynamics in the sector, meaning that leading, historical broadcasters might become less likely to be systematically found to exercise dominance. In particular, market respondents echoed to the FCA that 'powerful screens' (advertising slots with an especially high number of viewers, such as advertising screen broadcast in prime time on TF1) were no longer an absolute necessity for advertisers.

Finally, the enforcer also issued two decisions fining companies for unjustified exclusive imports in the French overseas territories this year.14 Although these exclusivity rights relate to antitrust, these decisions rely on a specific legal basis, distinct from Articles L.420-1 and L.420-2, that came into force with the Lurel Act in 2013. These were respectively the sixth and seventh decision sanctioning companies over exclusive agreements for the sale of consumer products in the country's overseas territories since those provisions were created.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

Excessive pricing and non-pricing abuses

In 2018, the FCA issued a rare fine on the grounds of abusive pricing;15 now the enforcer is thinking of applying that same theory of harm against a much broader range of practices. On the very day that the appeal against the FCA's 2018 abusive pricing decision was being heard, President of the FCA Isabelle de Silva declared at a conference16 that the notion of exploitative abuse could be used for other cases, other industries, but also to conditions other than prices, such as digital platforms' terms of service. Though not new, the notion of exploitative abuse has long been somewhat set aside, but abusive pricing sparked renewed interest in recent years, at European level and in France. It remains to be seen whether that trend will keep as the Court of Appeal has since quashed the bulk of the FCA's 2018 decision.17

Scrutiny over the retail sector: competition and beyond

French public authorities' scrutiny over the retail sector spanned beyond the field of competition law this year, as the Minister for the Economy and State Secretary decided to bring grocery cooperative Leclerc to court, arguing that the group was guilty of abusive trading practices and should, therefore, be fined a total €117.3 million. In France, the retail sector is subject to increasingly intense scrutiny, under competition rules as well as specific provisions. As far as competition law goes, general rules prohibiting anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominance apply, as well as merger control rules, with specific, lower notification thresholds for mergers in the retail sector and an additional procedure under which the FCA reviews joint purchasing agreements prior to their implementation, even though there are not analysed as mergers. Beyond competition law, retail agreements can also be assessed under provisions that prohibit unfair trading practices, as is the case in this ongoing matter.

iii Outlook

Antitrust and 'structuring' digital platforms

Introducing the notion of 'structuring' firms in merger control law is already being discussed in Parliament (see Section VI.iii), but the FCA went one step further, as it is now suggesting using that – yet to be defined – notion in the field of anticompetitive practices. In its contribution to the debate on competition policy published on 24 February 2020, the enforcer observed that some behaviours implemented by prominent digital operators (such as discrimination against competing products or services, foreclosure of related markets, use of data on a dominated market to impede access, hampering the interoperability between products or services, or multihoming) could not be caught under the current standard of abuse of dominance. It is thus exploring the adoption of a new regime to prevent and sanction anticompetitive behaviours by these operators, which would entail creating a legal definition of 'structuring firms' and submitting them to a specific set of enforceable obligations in terms of interoperability, non-discrimination and access to data.

IV SECTORAL COMPETITION: MARKET INVESTIGATIONS AND REGULATED INDUSTRIES

i Significant cases

Healthcare sector inquiry

In November 2017, the FCA opened an inquiry into the sector of medicinal products distribution and chemical pathology field. In its opinion published in April 2019,18 the FCA noted that the current legislative and regulatory framework throughout the medicinal products distribution chain was excessively restrictive, thereby hindering the modernisation of pharmacists, biomedical laboratories and intermediaries. To better foster modernisation, the FCA recommended lessening constraints on the online sale of medicinal products, in order to allow French pharmacies to compete on a level playing field, as well as clarifying and easing the regulation on advertising in the sector.

Opinion on the audiovisual sector

The FCA published an extensive opinion on the state of competition in the audiovisual sector as faced by the upheaval of the digital revolution.19 It observed that the business models of traditional players were heavily challenged by the development of new platforms. Furthermore, the FCA stressed that the existing regulatory framework, once protective of the sector, had now become inadequate since it imposes asymmetrical constraints, weighing only on national incumbent operators. Among several other recommendations, the FCA called for an overhaul of the anti-concentration measures specifically designed for the audio-visual sector in 1986.

This opinion was a request from the national Assembly (one of the two houses of Parliament in France), in the context of a major reform of the audiovisual sector. The government's draft bill for the reform has now been submitted to Parliament, and is expected to be discussed throughout spring 2020.

Competition in the French overseas territories

Following a 2018 request from the French government, the FCA issued an opinion on the competition dynamics of the importation and distribution of consumer goods in the French overseas departments. Consumer prices overseas remain significantly higher than those of mainland France, and this area has been one of the priority lines of action of the FCA for several years. The FCA welcomed positive developments since 2009, but observed that major discrepancies remained. It thus issued 20 recommendations in order to strengthen competition in the retail sector in these territories.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

Cross border cooperation on the digital sector

Further building on their close cooperation in this field,20 the German Bundeskartellamt and the FCA published a joint study on algorithms and competition on 6 November 2019. The two authorities examined the associated risks of collusion, with a particular focus on pricing algorithms. They also explored the practical challenges specific to the investigation of algorithms.

This particular project comes against the more general background of increased cooperation between competition authorities in the digital field, best exemplified this year by the Common Understanding on competition and the digital economy reached between the competition authorities of the G7 countries and the European Commission, presented on 18 July 2019.

iii Outlook

Study on trade union and professional organisations

As a consequence of the adoption of the ECN+ Directive, the maximum fine that can be imposed on association of undertakings will now be aligned with the standard 10 per cent cap, instead of the former flat-rate €3 million. The FCA took up this opportunity to launch a thematic study on the application of competition rules to trade unions and professional bodies, noting that these organisations often play the role of facilitator in the development and implementation of anticompetitive practices.

Competition in Corsica

Following a request from the government, the FCA sent an extended delegation to Corsica to assess the competitive situation on the island, with a specific focus on key sectors such as fuel distribution, mass retail distribution, waste and maritime transport.

V STATE AID

State aid rules are enforced at the European level by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union. In 2019, the Commission made 32 decisions on measures implemented by France; 31 of them were decisions not to raise objections and one was a negative decision ordering recovery.

In this one negative decision, the European Commission found that the marketing agreements concluded between a local tourism organisation and Ryanair at the Montpellier airport constituted illegal, incompatible state aid.21 Under these agreements, the airline had been receiving payments for seven years in exchange for promoting Montpellier on its website. The Commission found that these agreements did not fulfil actual marketing needs of the tourism organisation, but rather only served as an incentive for the airline to maintain its operation at the local airport. Consequently, Ryanair must now return €8.5 million worth of illegal state aid. This case echoes numerous other European probes into aid granted to airlines in order to attract or maintain their aircraft capacities in certain airports, among which previous aid to Ryanair in the French airports of Nimes, Angouleme and Pau.

VI MERGER REVIEW

In 2019, the FCA issued 269 merger review decisions under Articles L.430-1 to L.430-10 of the French Commercial Code, which shows a significant increase of transactional activity compared to previous years (235 decisions in 2018, 236 in 2017 and 230 in 2016). All were Phase 1 clearance decisions, among which seven were granted subject to commitments and none subject to injunctions. In addition, the FCA also issued a decision reviewing commitments and injunctions relating to a transaction it had previously cleared.22

i Significant cases

Among the most noteworthy cases of the year, the FCA cleared the creation of the Salto platform, a joint venture between France Télévisions, TF1 and Métropole Télévision (M6) intended to offer free-to-air DTT channels and a range of on-demand video services.23 The transaction was initially notified to the European Commission. However, in view of its impact on the domestic market and of the FCA's experience in the sector, the Commission, in agreement with the undertakings involved, decided to refer the case to the FCA pursuant to Article 4(4) of EU Regulation No 139/2004. Despite the size of the transaction and the various potential competition concerns (horizontal – both unilateral and coordinated, vertical and conglomerate), it was cleared within eight weeks in a Phase 1 decision subject to an extensive set of commitments.

One of the largest transactions of the year was the merger of D'Aucy and Triskalia, two agricultural cooperative groups with turnovers of €1.2 billion and €1.9 billion respectively.24 The FCA found that there were significant risks of anticompetitive effects in cereal, protein and oilseed crop collection, with combined market shares exceeding 70 per cent in certain collection areas, as well as in the retail distribution of gardening, DIY, landscaping and pet products since the market shares of the new entity reached 100 per cent in certain catchment areas. The parties still managed to secure a clearance in Phase 1, provided they implement a mix of commitments, both structural (divestitures) and behavioural (changes to their articles of association).

The FCA also cleared the creation of a joint undertaking between RATP and Keolis to operate the CDG Express, a future express connection between Paris and the CDG Airport.25 The FCA was able to rule out risks of price increase and quality deterioration in the public passenger transport markets thanks to the terms of the public service contract concluded with the state for the operation of the CDG Express, which included provisions on price and quality control. However, it identified a risk of coupled sales between CDG Express tickets and baggage transport and registration services. To alleviate that concern, the parties committed to entrusting the operation of baggage services to an independent partner, under a contract to be approved by the FCA.

In a rare instance of 'fix-it-first' commitments, the FCA cleared the acquisition of Alsa by Dr Oetker in January 2019.26 Both parties were active in various markets involving baking aids and desserts, and the new entity would have a become a leader in the market of fabrication and marketing of dessert mixes to supermarkets and hypermarkets. Dr Oetker, therefore, agreed to exclusively licence one of its main brands for a duration of five years, to a buyer that was approved by the FCA with the clearance decision.

Incidentally, the FCA also reported having accepted an up-front buyer commitment for the very first time this year, in a transaction involving two operators of the food retail sector in French Guiana.27

The FCA cleared the acquisition of OGC Nice by Ineos.28 As neither the FCA nor the European Commission had examined a transaction involving a professional football club before, the Authority focused on identifying the markets relevant to the transaction and defined a new market for the transfer of professional players, which it found to be at least European or even international in scope. The case was also interesting from a procedural perspective, as the FCA granted a derogation from the suspensive effect in order to enable the recruitment of new players before the transaction was cleared – which the FCA's President announced over social media. These derogations are only granted in exceptional circumstances, most commonly when the transaction involves companies undergoing insolvency proceedings.

As for the courts, the Fnac/Darty saga continued to unfold this year as the parties took to the Conseil d'Etat (the French administrative Supreme Court) to seek the annulment of a €20 million sanction. The FCA had cleared the merger in 2016 provided that the new entity divest several stores. The buyer later found by the parties was not approved by the FCA and no other candidate was identified before the deadline, which resulted in a €20 million fine for non-compliance with parts of the commitments.29 This decision was the first decision specifically related to non-compliance with structural divestiture commitments. By a judgement dated 7 November 2019, the Conseil d'Etat confirmed the whole of the decision.30 In particular, the Conseil d'Etat found that the seriousness of such a failure to comply with commitments should be assessed with regard to the importance of those commitments within the remedy package at the time of the clearance decision. In other words, according to the Conseil d'Etat, the FCA was not required to carry out a new assessment of the competitive situation of the market at the time of the sanction decision and to prove that the failure to implement the commitments actually affected competition.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

Towards a modern, simplified merger procedure

The process of modernising and simplifying merger procedure continued in 2019. In April, a new decree on the simplification of the national merger control procedure significantly alleviated the load of information to be submitted to the FCA when notifying.31 In October, the FCA launched a new electronic procedure, allowing eligible transactions to be notified online.

Franco-German call for reform of European merger control rules

In the wake of the Alstom/Siemens prohibition,32 the French and German ministries for the economy published a joint manifesto for a European industrial policy fit for the 21st century.33 The text called out for a major overhaul of European competition rules, arguing that industrial policy considerations should be more adequately taken into account.

iii Outlook

Upcoming decisions

As regards next year's prospects, 26 operations were under review at the time of writing, 10 of which pertain to the fool retail sector, four to automobile retail and three to the healthcare sector. Three in-depth (also known as Phase 2) investigations are currently ongoing.

New merger guidelines

In September, the FCA opened a public consultation on a draft version of its new merger guidelines. This overhaul of the guidelines aims at further alleviating the burden weighing on companies, most notably by extending the scope of the simplified procedure. The main substantial inputs are a new section dedicated to gun jumping, as well as developments on the control of remedy implementation. The consultation ended in November, and the final version of the new guidelines is expected for the first half of 2020.

Ex post control under discussion in France

Talks of creating an ex post merger control system further advanced in France over the course of 2019. Although the FCA had initially entertained the possibility of a new transaction value threshold, it ruled out this option in 2018. An ex post regime has since been considered as an alternative proposal, which led to extensive talks with other domestic agencies and a public consultation on the topic. In June 2019, the President of the FCA confirmed that the Authority had approached the executive with a proposal to introduce such an ex post mechanism, and that the matter was now in the hands of the government.34

Catching killer acquisitions

A draft bill currently under discussion in Parliament35 could create a new mechanism aimed at preventing killer acquisitions in Big Tech. Pursuant to the current version of the draft bill, the FCA could be empowered to draw up a list of 'structuring firms', taking into account a range of clues such as dominance, especially on multi-sided markets, extensive vertical integration, or access to essential data. Undertakings appearing on this list would be required to declare any concentration likely to affect the French market to the FCA, which would then have the ability to request a formal notification. In addition, the draft bill reverses the burden of proof during Phase 2 proceedings, as these structuring firms, when undergoing in-depth investigations, would now have to prove that the contemplated transaction is not likely to adversely affect competition.

VII CONCLUSIONS

On 9 January 2020, the FCA unveiled its priority lines of action for 2020.

Digital challenges will remain one of the FCA's core points of interest, with a particular focus on the impact of the digital revolution on financial activities. In addition, the FCA created a digital economy unit in January 2020. This new unit will be tasked with developing in-depth expertise on all things digital, with the aim of contributing to the FCA's studies and sector-specific inquiries, providing support to the investigation units, and working with other domestic agencies as well as foreign competition authorities.

The retail sector is expected to remain a key point of focus for the FCA. Several decisions should soon be issued by the FCA after notification of new joint purchasing agreements. The enforcer has also announced a study to be carried out on new commercial retail strategies.

Finally, the FCA has announced that it wishes to further strengthen international cooperation, and in particular to turn the Common Understanding reached by G7 countries in July 2019 into a long-term partnership. This will involve a conference in Paris in the second half of 2020.


Footnotes

1 Olivier Billard is a partner in the Competition and EU Law team of Bredin Prat.

2 As can be gathered from published decisions at the time of writing.

3 To date, the FCA has never blocked a merger or acquisition.

4 FCA, decision 19-D-25 of 17 December 2019.

5 FCA, decision 19-D-24 of 17 December 2019.

6 Paris Court of Appeal, 4 July 2019, No. 16/23609.

7 FCA, decision 19-D-09 of 22 May 2019.

8 FCA, decision 17-D-21 of 21 December 2017.

9 Such inspections of course do not pre-suppose the existence of a breach of competition rules, which the FCA can only establish after a full investigation into the merits of the case.

10 FCA, decision 19-D-26 of 19 December 2019.

11 FCA, decision 20-D-01 of 16 January 2020.

12 European Court of Justice, 21 February 1973, case 6/72.

13 FCA, decision 19-D-07 of 25 April 2019.

14 FCA, decision 19-D-11 of 29 May 2019 and decision 19-D-20 of 8 October 2019.

15 FCA, decision 18-D-17 of 20 September 2018, made available in English by the FCA.

16 Fordham Competition Law Institute's annual conference, as reported by the Global Competition Review (12 September 2019).

17 Paris Court of Appeal, 14 November 2019, No. 18/23992.

18 FCA, opinion 19-A-08 of 4 April 2019.

19 FCA, opinion 19-A-04 of 21 February 2019 (available in English).

20 See for instance the joint paper on data and its implication for competition law, dated 10 May 2016.

21 European Commission, 4 July 2018, SA.47867.

22 FCA, decision 19-DCC-199 of 28 October 2019.

23 FCA, decision 19-DCC-157 of 12 August 2019.

24 FCA, decision 19-DCC-147 of 24 July 2019.

25 FCA, decision 19-DCC-76 of 26 April 2019.

26 FCA, decision 19-DCC-15 of 29 January 2019.

27 FCA, decision 19-DCC-180 of 27 September 2019.

28 FCA, decision 19-DCC-160 of 21 August 2019.

29 FCA, decision 18-D-16 of 27 July 2018.

30 Conseil d'Etat, 7 November 2019, No. 424702.

31 Decree No. 2019-339 of 18 April 2019.

32 European Commission, 6 February 2019, case M.8677.

33 Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie and Ministère de l'Economie et des Finances, A Franco-German Manifesto for a European industrial policy fit for the 21st Century, 19 February 2019.

34 Interview with Isabelle de Silva, President, French Autorité de la concurrence, The Antitrust Source, Volume 18, Issue 6, June 2019.

35 Draft bill No. 48 aimed at guarantying consumers' freedom of choice in the cyberspace.