‘Countervailing Buyer Power in EU Competition Law’

Our second guest speaker today is Ignacio Herrera-Anchustegui (BECCLE and University of Bergen), a PhD researcher and expert in public procurement law. Ignacio will discussing ”Countervailing Buyer Power in EU Competition Law”. An abstract for his presentation can be found below.


Countervailing buyer power (“CBP”) is arguably the sub-topic of buyer power that has received the most attention by the literature and the case law. Contrastingly, in the EU case law and Commission’s practice its importance when deciding cases has been rather limited. CBP acts as a competitive constraint mitigating or nullifying the market power effects by a supplying undertaking. It acts as a defence mechanism precluding an undertaking from significantly impeding competition or from it being dominant through the exercise of market power as it is not able to behave independently of its buyers. Because of its nature, it is assessed as part of the relevant buyer market power analysis.

This paper analyses CBP from a general perspective in the light of the case law, Commission practice and other authoritative sources. I aim at contributing to the current literature by defining what ought to be understood by CBP, analysing how the EU judiciary and Commission treat this competitive constrain as seller market power neutralizer, identifying its sources, clarifying whether EU competition law employs a generalized and coherent legal treatment to CBP or whether the approach varies depending on the case type, and discussing substantive aspects of it, such as its scope of application and the required extent of its effect. My approach, unlike most previous literature, is comprehensive in the sense that I do not limit my analysis to specific competition law areas nor to just case commentary, which is also a contribution to the current state of the law.

Ignacio’s presentation takes place from 13:45-14:30 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 0.1.

About CCP
The Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) conducts interdisciplinary research into competition policy and regulation.

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