French competition law: What happened in 2021 and significant events in 2022
The digital economy, more important than ever in the French Competition Authority’s (“FCA”) 2022 policy agenda
Even though the President of the FCA, Isabelle de Silva, left in November 2021, and the appointment of her successor, Benoît Cœuré, has just been approved by the French Parliament, we can expect continuity in top priorities. No doubt that the digital sector will continue to be at the centre of enforcement actions.
As announced by Isabelle de Silva in her departure speech, “the major challenge remains that of the digital transformation of the economy”. The publication of the G7 compendium on digital markets (analysing the decision-making and advisory practice in the digital economy – Nov. 2021) also shows a will of the FCA to continue coordinating with other national competition authorities towards a more efficient and global antitrust enforcement in the digital economy.
Three Big Tech investigations are on the FCA’s 2022 agenda:
- Google on related rights for press publishers and agencies (decision on the merits).
- Apple on amendments to its targeted ads features of its operating system combining competition and data privacy issues (self-preferencing).
- Facebook on alleged self-preferencing practices on its platform at the expense of competitors (Facebook has offered commitments).
Besides, the Digital Markets Act is expected to be adopted. No doubt the FCA will want to continue to have a role in this debate which aims at regulating “gatekeeping” platforms, allowing fines of up to 10% of the gatekeeper’s global turnover (and maybe 20% according to the European Parliament’s latest amendment) and and requiring them to inform the European Commission (“Commission”) of any intended concentration (even if below the thresholds) involving another provider of core platform services or digital services.