Nota Bene Episode 112: How Europe is Filling Enforcement Gaps for Digital Gatekeepers with Robert Klotz and Ciara Barbu-O’Connor


Digital platforms and companies have transformed the world in ways no other industry has done before in such dramatic ways. However, these platforms have transitioned from alternative channels to major players (and often, the only players) in many sectors of the economy, raising antitrust issues. Joining Michael for this conversation are two experts, Robert Klotz and Ciara Barbu-O’Connor, and we’re exploring how the European Commission is regulating the rise of tech giants.

Robert Klotz is a partner in the Antitrust & Competition Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Brussels office. Robert concentrates on all aspects of EU and German competition and regulatory law and represents clients before the European Commission and national authorities, with a particular focus on network industries, such as energy, telecommunications, post and transport. 

Ciara Barbu-O'Connor is an associate in the Antitrust and Competition Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Brussels office. She is a member of the firm’s EU Competition & Regulatory practice and advises on all aspects of European, UK and Belgian competition law, including mergers, cartels, abuse of dominance as well as State aid across all sectors and industries.

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What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • What was the progression of the European experience with digital tech platforms?
  • How is the European Commission approaching merger controls of tech giants?
  • What does enforcement of antitrust laws look like on the EU level?
  • What are some ways Europe is filling enforcement gaps?
  • While the EU has sanctioned acts in the past, now they’re look at implementing regulation ahead of time. Is this a better way to approach enforcement?
  • What does the current shift in antitrust enforcement in European markets look like compared to North American markets?
  • Which European countries prefer to strengthen antitrust rules as opposed to introducing regulation?
  • What is the essential facility doctrine?
  • What should multinational companies know about the European Commission’s proposed Digital Markets Act?
  • What is the criteria for a company to be designated a “gatekeeper” thus triggering potential antitrust action?


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