European Union Regulatory Group REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

European Union (EU) regulation determines who has access to a market of almost 500 million consumers generating about 30% of worldwide economic output. EU regulation is often at the forefront of the debate on critical issues of concern to European and non-European interests. They include reform of the financial system to improve Europe's ability to safeguard against systemic risk; agreement of ambitious goals and mechanisms to slow climate change and reduce carbon emissions; oversight and approval for novel foods, drugs and the chemicals used both in industry and the products we use daily; development of schemes that incentivize environmentally responsible handling of waste; market-based supervision of network industries (communications, energy, transport and other utilities) to promote competition and investment in infrastructure; and aid to individual companies, to economic sectors in crisis or to significantly underdeveloped regions in Europe.

EU regulation and the choices made by EU member countries in its detailed implementation and enforcement impact companies’ business models, investment decisions and conduct of business on a day-to-day basis. WilmerHale’s European Union Regulatory Group includes lawyers who can guide you through the rules that affect your business and advise on the complex interplay between EU regulation and national laws in EU member countries. It includes former high-ranking officials both at EU level and in national government, including Matthias Wissmann, a former German Federal Minister of Transport and currently President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry; Claus-Dieter Ehlermann, a former Director-General for Competition and Head of the European Commission’s Legal Service; Jacques Bourgeois, a former principal legal advisor at the European Commission; and Martin Seyfarth, a former Chief of Staff in the German Federal Ministry of Transport. We can also draw on the experience of Hanns-Eberhard Schleyer, a former Secretary-General of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses (ZDH) and of Robert M. Kimmitt, a former US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and US Ambassador to Germany.

We have more than 50 specialists in key EU regulatory areas including Aviation and Logistics; Communications; Data Protection and Information Security; Energy and Climate Change; Environment, Waste and Chemicals; Financial Services; Food, Nutrition and Cosmetics; Life Sciences and Health Care; Public Procurement and Government Contracts; and State Aid. They have the depth of experience, respect of regulators and first-rate legal skills required to provide advice and representation of the highest caliber. They work closely with our colleagues in the US and Asia so that our services are sensitive to and leverage approaches taken in other jurisdictions.

We are able to offer integrated services on an issue or for a particular industry sector, from government relations/legislative advocacy at the beginning, to regulatory advice and counseling in the implementation phase, and finally, where needed, representation in litigation before national and European courts. While not every matter requires an integrated approach, the ability to offer the full range of services for a particular substantive issue is often important to clients. Last, we offer a range of services that cut across industry sectors, such as, internal and external regulatory investigations, and advice and representation in public procurement and subsidy/aid proceedings. Learn more about our cross-border investigations and compliance experience.

European Union (EU) regulation determines who has access to a market of almost 500 million consumers generating about 30% of worldwide economic output. EU regulation is often at the forefront of the debate on critical issues of concern to European and non-European interests. They include reform of the financial system to improve Europe's ability to safeguard against systemic risk; agreement of ambitious goals and mechanisms to slow climate change and reduce carbon emissions; oversight and approval for novel foods, drugs and the chemicals used both in industry and the products we use daily; development of schemes that incentivize environmentally responsible handling of waste; market-based supervision of network industries (communications, energy, transport and other utilities) to promote competition and investment in infrastructure; and aid to individual companies, to economic sectors in crisis or to significantly underdeveloped regions in Europe.

EU regulation and the choices made by EU member countries in its detailed implementation and enforcement impact companies’ business models, investment decisions and conduct of business on a day-to-day basis. WilmerHale’s European Union Regulatory Group includes lawyers who can guide you through the rules that affect your business and advise on the complex interplay between EU regulation and national laws in EU member countries. It includes former high-ranking officials both at EU level and in national government, including Matthias Wissmann, a former German Federal Minister of Transport and currently President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry; Claus-Dieter Ehlermann, a former Director-General for Competition and Head of the European Commission’s Legal Service; Jacques Bourgeois, a former principal legal advisor at the European Commission; and Martin Seyfarth, a former Chief of Staff in the German Federal Ministry of Transport. We can also draw on the experience of Hanns-Eberhard Schleyer, a former Secretary-General of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses (ZDH) and of Robert M. Kimmitt, a former US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and US Ambassador to Germany.

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Contacts

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Duvernoy, Christian

Christian Duvernoy

Partner-in-Charge, Brussels Office

+32 2 285 49 06 (t)

christian.duvernoy@wilmerhale.com

Experience

Representative examples of European regulatory projects recently handled by our European Union Regulatory Group include the following:

Aviation and Logistics
  • Represented a large Swiss hub airport before the European Commission and the German courts, including the German Supreme Court, in a dispute on the use of the airspace of Germany for approaches to and departures from the airport, including advice on negotiations on a bilateral treaty and on strategic options.
  • Completed a comprehensive study on European air space management and design, leading a consortium of legal, technical and policy experts. The recommendations of the study laid the ground for and are reflected in the EU regulatory framework for the creation of a single European sky.
  • Completed a detailed analysis of the EU rules concerning the unbundling of railway infrastructure management and railway operations for a major European railway company in the context of a series of infringement proceedings initiated by the European Commission against almost all EU Member States concerning the implementation of the EU’s First Railway Package.
Communications
  • Assisted a major European mobile telecommunications group against the initiative of Commissioner Viviane Reding concerning international roaming tariffs and advised the group on challenging the resulting regulation before the European Court of Justice.
  • Represent a major European telecommunications operator in landmark litigation before the European Court of Justice concerning an alleged margin squeeze in the local loop.
Data Protection and Information Security
  • Advise on compliance with European privacy rules in the context of advertising and marketing campaigns, lotteries and loyalty programmes, sales and purchases of customer lists and unsolicited commercial communications.
  • Counsel a global provider of outsourced human resources benefits management about compliance with European and international privacy and data transfer laws, including those applicable to sensitive (e.g., medical and financial) personal information; privacy and security obligations in connection with large-scale outsourcing; and security incident response and state and international breach notification obligations.
  • Drafted corporate codes of conduct that respect European and international data protection obligations and allow appropriate US Sarbanes-Oxley Act oversight, including anonymous whistle-blowing.
Energy and Climate Change
  • Provided comprehensive legal advice to a leading European energy company on the legality of the European Commission’s proposal for ownership unbundling under EU and German constitutional law.
  • Acted as regular strategic and policy counsel to a coalition of leading US and European clean technology companies concerning key aspects of global climate change negotiations, including comprehensive advice on their EU, US and global public policy strategy.
  • Represented a leading European electricity generator before the European Courts in an application for annulment of the European Commission's approval of the German national allocation plan for greenhouse gas emission trading certificates.
Environment, Waste and Chemicals
  • Established, advised and represented German food and beverage producers and German retailers in their ground-breaking and successful effort to create a German nationwide deposit system for the collection of approximately 16 billion one-way packages per year.
  • Represented a plastic materials producer before German administrative courts in litigation against Germany concerning the compatibility of departure routes from Frankfurt airport across the client's chemicals plant with the EU directive on the control of major accident hazards.
  • Advised numerous clients, in particular in the tech sector, on compliance with the WEEE and RoHS Directives and on how to structure systems for collection of electronic waste.
Financial Services
  • Advise a group of large hedge funds on the evolution of EU and national regulatory requirements applicable to alternative fund managers, including hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as the regulation of traditional asset management and investment funds, particularly related to marketing rules.
  • Counseled a leading credit card issuer on consumer credit rules and credit card regulation, from a consumer protection, financial services (SEPA) and competition law (interchange) perspective.
Food, Nutrition and Cosmetics
  • Assisted the Philippine carrageenan industry and the Philippine government in reversing a change in the EU standards for this food additive that would have shut it out of the market.
  • Advised a leading integrated meat processor on dealing with an animal health crisis, including development of a strategy to reintroduce imports of meat products from disease-free regions.
Life Sciences and Health Care
  • Advised a leading seed producer on various EU and German regulatory issues relating to GMOs and represented the company in litigation in Germany relating to allegedly dangerous GMO maize and relating to information claims brought by an NGO asking the client to disclose certain confidential data submitted in a GMO authorization procedure.
  • Represented a leading US medical device manufacturer in proceedings before the European Commission and Member States agencies with potential worldwide impact on standards for natural rubber latex used in surgical gloves.
  • Advised a major diversified consumer products company on a strategy to bring tooth whitening products to market and helped the company to navigate the requirements of the EU’s Cosmetics, Medical Devices and Medicinal Products Directives.
Public Procurement and Government Contracts
  • Represented several major pharmaceutical companies in a series of landmark public procurement litigation matters regarding the application of the procurement rules to German public health insurers and insurance funds (discount agreements for drugs).
  • Represented the successful bidder in public procurement litigation before the German Federal Cartel Office and the Higher Regional Court of Duesseldorf regarding the German truck toll system.
State Aid
  • Provided comprehensive support to a leading German retail group, and to its mail order subsidiary, including representation before the European Commission and in negotiations with the German government.
  • Represented an intervener in proceedings before the European Court of First Instance concerning the European Commission’s decision prohibiting preferential landing charges for Ryanair at Charleroi airport as illegal state aid.
  • Represented the European subsidiary of Nomura, the leading Japanese financial services group, in a series of (now settled) state aid complaints and litigation before the EU General Court against Czech aid granted to the banking sector.

Publications & News

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October 15, 2014

EU Proposals to Regulate the Acquisition of Minority Shareholdings

The EU is currently planning to introduce a new merger control-based filing requirement for acquisitions of minority shareholdings.

October 8, 2014

Light at the End of the Tunnel: Litigating Access to Cartel Leniency Documents in the EU

A chapter by Frédéric Louis, published in the seventh edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to Competition Litigation 2015.

September 15, 2014

US and EU Escalate Russia Sanctions

Last week, the United States and European Union (EU) significantly escalated financial and trade sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to what US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew described as Russia’s “blatant efforts to destabilize Ukraine.”

July 1, 2014

International Merger Remedies

A chapter by Frédéric Louis and John Ratliff, published in the fifth edition of The Merger Control Review, Editor Ilene Knable Gotts. The chapter covers international merger remedies in Europe, the US and around the world. Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd.

April 1, 2014

Sanctions and Trade Update: Russia and Ukraine

In response to recent events in Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Switzerland, and other nations have adopted a series of targeted asset freezes and travel bans, which vary in scope, as well as broader trade restrictions against Russia.

March 28, 2014

WilmerHale’s Antitrust Group Wins Litigation of the Year Award from GCR

WilmerHale's Antitrust and Competition Practice was announced the winner of the Litigation of the Year Award for the German Rail Cartel follow-on litigation in a Global Competition Review (GCR) awards ceremony held in Washington DC on March 25, 2014.

March 26, 2014

European Commission’s New Rules on Application of EU Competition Law to Licenses, Settlement Agreements and Patent Pools

On 21 March, the European Commission published the final version of its revised Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to categories of technology transfer agreements.

March 18, 2014

Unlimited Jurisdiction: A look at how the European Courts review European Commission competition law penalties

An article by John Ratliff, published in the March 18, 2014 edition of Competition Law Insight, pp. 13-14.

March 18, 2014

Unilateral conduct in the energy sector: An overview of EU and national case law

An article by John Ratliff and Roberto Grasso, published in e-Competitions' National Competition Laws Bulletin, No. 52021.

March 3, 2014

The Defense View: AG Kokott's Kone Opinion: EU Law on the Verge of an All-European (Cartel) Damage Claim?

An article by Dr. Hans-Georg Kamann, Roberto Grasso and Christian Schwedler, published in the ABA Antitrust Section's International Civil Redress Bulletin, Issue 2, p. 2-6, March 2014.