Image of Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke

Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke

Of Counsel, Brussels

“I am a competition lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience, offering clients an immediate and commercially focused response to their problems. I have a well honed ability to get to the heart of their business operation. I can use my in-depth knowledge of the European Commission and of the Belgian Competition Authority as well as my litigation experience to assist them navigate the complexities of competition law.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Bernard is widely acknowledged as a leading European competition lawyer, advising international clients and government bodies on an extensive range of EU legal topics, including competition law, antitrust, merger control, state aid and free movement. Bernard is best known for his expertise in judicial review litigation in antitrust and state aid cases.

Bernard has market-leading experience representing companies before the European Commission and the General Court, as well as before the Belgian competition authority and courts. He has also represented the Belgian state in numerous preliminary ruling and infringement proceedings in the Court of Justice in cases involving taxation and free movement.

Bernard has thorough understanding of a wide range of industrial and economic sectors, including the cement, stainless steel, flat and automotive glass, chemicals, airlines, retail and joint purchase organisations, freight transport by rail, payment systems and export credit insurance.

Work highlights

Bernard has advised clients on an extensive range of competition law cases. Highlights include advising:

General anti-trust:

  • companies before the EC Commission and cases before the EC Court of First Instance, including  Saint-Gobain, parties in PVC I,,Interbrew (now ABInBev), MasterCard and De Beers.


Merger control cases:

  • AG/Amev (the second merger control case under the EUMR), Shell/Montedison, Sabena/Air France and Sabena/Swissair, Carrefour/GB-Inno-BM, Interbrew/Beck’s, Saint-Gobain/BPB and Saint-Gobain/Maxit.


Belgian cases:

  • Delhaize on its €28bn merger with Ahold, one of the largest cross-border mergers in Europe and the largest Belgian deal completed in years
  • De Beers /Spira (including extensive litigation before the Belgian courts).


State aid cases:

  • the restructuring of the freight activities of the Belgian railways
  • the restructuring and recapitalisation of Sabena, the Belgian airline
  • the recapitalisation of the Belgian Post (now bpost)
  • Prayon v. Commission
  • the capitalisation of Ducroire SA (Belgian export credit insurance company)
  • appeals against the Commission decision in the Belgian Excess Profit Ruling case.

 

Professional experience

Bernard is an honorary professor at the College of Europe, where he taught the 'Introduction to the EU institutions and the EU legal order' from 1994 to 2017.

Bernard is a founding member, past president and member of the scientific council of the Global Competition Law Centre, which is part of the College of Europe and arranges conferences and virtual learning.

Bernard is a founding member, past president and member of the editorial board of Tijdschrift voor Belgische Mededinging/Revue de Concurrence Belge, Belgium’s leading publication on competition law.

Bernard writes regularly on the issue of competition law. His recent articles include:

“Le Code de droit économique: protection du droit de la concurrence”, Le Code de droit économique: principales innovations, CUP, n°156, Larcier, 2015

“Protection de la concurrence  - la concurrence et les évolutions des prix”, Le Nouveau Code de droit économique, Larcier, 2014

“Handhaving van de EU-mededingingsregelen, procedurele autonomie en bevoegdheid van de nationale mededingingsoverheden: en liberté surveillée ?”, Mundi et Europae Civis: Liber Amicorum Jacques Steenbergen, Larcier, 2014

Bernard is an honorary professor at the College of Europe, where he taught the ‘Introduction to the EU Institutions and the EU legal order’ from 1994 to 2017.

Education and qualifications

Bernard holds degrees in law and European law from the Catholic University of Louvain and a degree in economic law from the Free University of Brussels.

Bernard speaks French, Dutch and English.