The VBER review - starting off on the right foot
21 March 2019

19.00h (by teleconference / in-person)(CET) - 20.30h (cocktail to 9pm)

Marieke Scholz, Deputy Head of Unit | Andrea Amelio, Case-handler
Antitrust Case Support & Policy (A1)
European Commission
By teleconference
In-person: Renaissance Brussels Hotel
Rue du Parnasse, 19
1050, Brussels
CPD:Accredited for 1.5 hours CPD (UK SRA)
Registration:Closes 3pm (Brussels) 21 March
Joining:Details sent to registered participants at 4.30pm (21 March)
On 17 December, DG COMP fined Guess nearly €40 million for five different anti-competitive practices sanctioning, for the first time, online advertising restrictions involving brand names and trademarks.

The Commission is expected to launch the much-anticipated review of the Verticals Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines (“VBER”, “the Review”) with a detailed questionnaire in February.

According to the November 2018 roadmap, the Review will focus on evaluating the VBER’s:

  • Effectiveness (e.g., whether the hard-core and excluded restrictions effectively capture agreements unlikely to satisfy Article 101(3))?
  • Efficiency, in particular whether it has reduced costs for undertakings and NCAs in ensuring compliance with Article 101?
  • Relevance in light of new market developments, in particular the increasing importance of the online and offline sales channel strategy of European producers? 
  • Coherence with the Commission's overall enforcement policy (e.g., post E-commerce Sector Inquiry enforcement actions); and
  • Contribution to a consistent application of Article 101 to vertical agreements in the Member States?
Marieke Scholz and Andrea Amelio have very kindly agreed to participate in this first Europe-wide 'Chatham House rule' discussion following the launch of the Review, the start of the (not-so-long) road to 2022 shaping EU distribution competition policy in the digital era.

List of participants (updated 20 March)

DG COMP's VBER review page (incl. evaluation roadmap (08.11.18))

'Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation' conference (17.01.19)

Commission Decision - Guess Case AT.40428 (17.12.18)

'Distribution in the Digital Single Market - what's legal?' (15.11.18)

'Platforms-to-business relations: adjusting the balance?' W.Stengg, DG CNECT (16.05.18)

'The e-commerce sector inquiry Final Report: prospects & guidance?' T. Kramler, DG COMP (31.05.17)
How to participate?

Register for this meeting

You can participate in this discussion either in-person (in Brussels) or by teleconference from your desk.

Rates in €uros excluding VAT are:
Category Normal registration Late registration
Private sector lawyer / Economist
General / In-house counsel



Public sector lawyer



Full-time students / academics



On registration, all participants will receive immediate email confirmation of participation and a receipt, once their payment has been approved.

Participants by teleconference can choose to be dialed into the meeting or to receive (a few hours in advance) a unique dial-in access code to the meeting.

Teleconference participants will be dialed in / dial in at most 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

The discussion will last a maximum of 90 minutes. All participants will receive the speaker's presentation and will be able to ask questions.

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