Competition Law Nordic 2021 – Takeaways from the Conference
7 April 2021
Author: David Olander
For the second consecutive year, Hannes Snellman is proud to have been a supporting sponsor of Competition Law Nordic 2021, a pan-Nordic competition law forum that brings together regulators, economists, in-house counsel, and private practice lawyers from the entire Nordic region. Hannes Snellman’s lawyers took part in the conference and acted as moderators in discussions covering a wide range of current competition law topics and developments, many of which reflect key trends in markets and government policies.
Competition law in digital markets remains a central theme for many stakeholders. For many years, the position of Nordic competition authorities has been that the current competition law framework has proven resilient to, and flexible for, tackling competition issues in digital markets. However, the tide may be turning as the authorities now call for new legislation and additional powers to intervene against business and structures on digital markets, which many consider to constitute a paradigm shift. This topic was discussed in a panel on digital markets moderated by Partner Peter Forsberg that included representatives of Google, Trustly, Nets Denmark, Copenhagen Economics, and the Swedish Competition Authority. The panellists debated the current challenges and recent authority initiatives, and one key take-away from the discussion was that the current competition toolbox should be sufficient.
Partner Mikko Huimala also moderated a panel discussion on the topic of cooperation between competitors, information exchange, and price signalling. In the panel, representatives of Maersk Line, Aneheuser-Bush, and Siminn discussed competition law compliance from an in-house perspective, legal certainty in relation to authority guidelines, and challenges in drafting cooperation agreements. In particular, given the legal uncertainty in the self-assessment area, the panel called for a clearer set of rules on cooperation concerning sustainability and a regulatory framework to keep up with digitalisation. The panel also raised a warning flag regarding cooperation within the framework of business associations as these have recently been on the radar of several Nordic competition authorities.
Another topic included in the conference was sustainability, which has become an increasingly pronounced policy for both governments and businesses, and the interplay between sustainability and competition law is currently a hot topic for debate. Partner Maria Wasastjerna moderated a panel discussion on sustainability and competition law where representatives of Metsä Group, Volvo Trucks, Vapo, and Stora Enso debated the role of sustainability within the framework of competition law, which is built on tenets of traditional economic theory.
Senior Associate David Olander moderated a roundtable discussion on key aspects of private enforcement of competition law, such as quantification of harm in damage claims, forum shopping, and settlements. The topic has become increasingly relevant over the past years as the number of cases where European businesses enforce competition law in civil court procedures has increased remarkably.
Being the only truly pan-Nordic forum of its kind, Competition Law Nordic 2021 provided valuable insights and perspectives into a broad range of competition law topics and developments in the Nordic region.