On September 8, 2020, the EU Commission published its Staff Working Document Evaluation, summarizing the results of the evaluation process of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation – Regulation 330/2010 – VBER).
This concludes an important phase of the process of revision of the VBER (expiring on May 31, 2022).
The Staff Working Document Evaluation provides a clear and detailed explanation of the purpose, methodology and evaluation questions, with an in-depth analysis of all the inputs and requests received by the stakeholders.
Although the Commission does not express its position in this document yet, it shows to have attentively listened and acknowledged the observations and contributions received by stakeholders during and after the public consultation.
A detailed description of each addressed topic can be found in Annex 4 (Overview of issues identified during the evaluation process).
Among other considerations, the document mentions the following important facts:
- consumers expecting more and more an omnichannel experience;
- increasing dual role of online platforms (acting both as intermediary service provider and retailer);
- increase of online sales and free riding;
- increased use of selecting distribution systems by brand owners.
After having carefully analyzed each of the evaluation questions (effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value), the main conclusions appear to be the following:
- there is a continued need for the VBER;
- its assessment must include the Vertical Guidelines;
- there is also a need for more clarity (helping in the self-assessment process);
- the new developments of the market (e.g. increase of online sales, free riding, online platforms etc.) shall be addressed, also filling the gaps of the current provisions and possibly with future-proof rules;
- it will be important to overcome divergences among national competition authorities and national courts.
Please find attached the relevant document.
We expect that the EU Commission will publish a draft of the new Regulation next year. We will keep you of course informed on further developments.
Silvia Bortolotti, Secretary General IDI