Competition law in Spain: What to expect in the current economic recovery phase

The COVID-19 pandemic has manifested itself with particular virulence in Spain. Its direct effects, as well as those resulting from the extreme lockdown measures adopted to contain its spread, have caused businesses to an unprecedented level of uncertainty – including in relation to the application of European and national competition law.

Much has already been written recalling that antitrust rules have not been quarantined. Now Spain's National Commission for Markets and Competition (the CNMC) has confirmed that they will continue rigorously to enforce antitrust and competition rules while the state of emergency is in force and also once it is lifted. However, due to the exceptional nature of the current situation, the authorities recognize the need to adapt their interpretation to the current economic and legal context.

In view of the gradual resumption of the economic activity in Spain, we analyze the following:

  1. the extent to which companies can cooperate with each other and/or with the government in their new day-to-day activity and what precautions they should take in this respect;
  2. the possible adverse economic impact of excessive government intervention in the market;
  3. the possibilities offered by the merger control procedure to speed up the implementation of acquisitions of companies in distress, as well as
  4. the main issues to be taken into account in relation to public aid schemes available to companies.

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The original Spanish version of this article can be found here.

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