E.M.B.L.-HSG students' impressions of the Brussels-module 2013

Feb 14 2013

by Radena Dragieva and Agnieszka Sulowska

Just after New Years Eve (14. – 19. Jan 2013) our flying classroom landed in Brussels, Belgium for one of the most exciting modules of the program – Competition law. If we take a bright view on competition topic it arises as one of the most important pillars of the contemporary business world. It examines all aspects of competition policy from, primarily, a legal perspective, but also from an economic point of view. Our six-day module included detailed legal analysis complemented by an economic viewpoint for a multi-disciplinary approach when talking about competition issues in business cases.

The Brussels module was a forum of heated discussions on several topics, including abuse of dominance, fight against but also investigation and sanctioning of cartels, U.S. and global antitrust as well as merger and state aid control. The lectures included in each and every panel were evidence of the fact that world competition has become hugely important in the field of global antitrust. As Mr. Robert Pitofsky, Chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission, pointed out in one of his interviews”Global competition is the wave of the future, and comparative analysis of the laws and practices of various members of the worldwide community of nations is a necessary corollary.” The lectures and discussions held during the fifth module of the EMBL HSG program 2012/2013 aimed to show us the different regulatory and practitioners’ approaches in Europe and the U.S. (the most advanced competition and anti-trust players on the globe) and even allowed us to think in a more informed way about the strengths and weaknesses of our own system.

Together with latest developments on the competition side shared by top professionals from the entire world one of the speaks (even being a debut one) during the module left a great impression on the class. Dr. Romina Polley’s understanding of competition rules has been actually beheld thorough the eyes of a partner based in the Cologne office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and a practitioner of competition law for more than 17 years. Being one of the leading female lawyers in the world of antitrust Ms. Polley focused her lectures on cartel investigations and shared some experience as a council in various cartel proceedings before the German and European antitrust authorities. As an expert in merger control she spoke about the more and more applicable behavior of the European Commission of regulating large undertakings in terms of abusive practices or market power.

Thanks to our excellent chair-persons Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. HSG Helmuth Schröter and RA Mag. iur. Christian Mayer and the experts attracted from all over the world we were as well directly involved in the constantly discussion whether competition law protects consumers, the market structure as such, or both. By comprehensive understanding of competition rules, being the main object of the module, everyone who was part of it was provoked to think about important questions in competitive context concerning its professional area.