3E Centre’s “Competition law turns green” series – Focus on legal: to hold or to move?

On Wednesday 6 October, the Research Centre for Environment, Economy and Energy (3E) jointly with the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Competition Law and Digitalization Group) and BCLP law organised a second seminar of their series “Competition Law Turns Green”, which is devoted to exploring how competition law can contribute to transforming Europe into a sustainable and competitive economy. Building on the first introductory event that took place on 23 June, the October seminar titled “Focus on Legal: Hold or Move” aimed to address the question whether competition law should become more permissive or rather stay prohibitive when applied to agreements between competitors that have impacts on the environment. “Whether competition law should adapt to accommodate environmental harms and benefits is currently one of the most pressing legal questions, in particular in light of the recent legal developments and announcements both on the national and EU level”, noted the co-organisers Klaudia Majcher (3E & WU), David Anderson (3E & BCLP law firm) and Harri Kalimo (3E). The recent legal changes to the Austrian competition law as well as the European Commission’s brief titled “Competition Policy in Support of Europe’s Green Ambition” were two examples that the Panel discussed, and that indicate how environmental considerations intertwine with competition law enforcement. The speakers of the event, Sandra Marco Colino (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Luc Peeperkorn (Brussels School of Competition) and Ralph Taschke (Federal Austrian Competition Authority), discussed from different standpoints the most recent legal developments in the area and presented suggestions for the way forward. This legal outlook will be complemented by a focus on an environmental economics perspective, discussed with leading experts in the upcoming event on 10 November, and a discussion on agency/government action and advocacy on 9 December.