European Journal of Law Reform


Evidence-Based Legislation in EU Competition Law

Reform of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation as a Case Study

Keywords competition law, Better Regulation Agenda, vertical restraints, Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER), More Economic Approach (MEA)
Authors Jasper P. Sluijs
Author's information

Jasper P. Sluijs
Jasper P. Sluijs is Assistant professor, Utrecht University School of Law, The Netherlands, The author acknowledges Lisanne Hummel, Esther van Schagen and Baskaran Balasingham for valuable comments on early drafts. The author has nothing to disclose under the ASCOLA Transparency and Disclosure Declaration.
  • Abstract

      Whereas the European Commission’s Better Regulation Agenda advances a broad standard for evidence in legislation, EU competition law more narrowly relies on economic evidence focused on welfare effects. This article explores this inherent tension by means of a case study of the 2018-2022 revision of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER). It is found that economic evidence has been only one of many sources of evidence in the VBER revision process, which put particular attention on evidence through stakeholder consultation. This is understandable within the context of the Better Regulation Agenda, but nonetheless striking when considering EU competition law’s reliance on economic evidence over non-economic evidence under the Commission’s ‘More Economic Approach’. Moreover, it is unclear why economic evidence was gathered to evaluate some aspects of the VBER and not on others. Furthermore, the Commission has been strategic in drawing conclusions from economic research and, considering the limitations thereof, seemingly based on its predefined preference for specific policy options.

Please sign in to access the article

Did you receive an activation code but no access yet? Please activate your code here.

Forgot your password? Request new password.

Purchase access

You can purchase online access to this article. You will receive 24 hrs access @ € 17,50 (excl. VAT).

24 hrs access € 17,50 (excl. VAT)

Activate your code

If you have an access code, please activate it here.