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Training of national judges in EU Competition Law
Deadline: 31 Mar 2017   CALL EXPIRED

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1. Introduction

1.1 On 17 October 2013 the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) No

1382/20131 establishing a Justice Programme for the period 2014-2020. One of its specific

objectives is to support and promote judicial training, including language training on legal

terminology, with a view to fostering a common legal and judicial culture.

1.2 On 23 March 2016, the European Commission adopted the work programme for 2016 and the

financing for the implementation of the Justice Programme2 which, in its amended current

version, provides for the publication of a call for proposals to support national or transnational

projects on judicial training in competition law. Thus, grants may be awarded to support and

promote judicial training, including language training on legal terminology, with a view to foster

a common legal and judicial culture of competition law.

The measures planned for the training of national judges and judicial cooperation will be referred

to hereafter as the 'projects'.

1.3 Bodies which introduce proposals are referred to hereafter as the 'applicants'. Successful

applicants which have been allocated a grant are described as the 'beneficiaries'.

 

2. Objectives

The objective of this call for proposals is to co-finance projects aiming to train national judges in

the context of enforcing European competition rules. This includes public and private

enforcement of both the Antitrust rules and the State aid rules. The final aim is to ensure a

coherent and consistent application of EU competition law by national courts.

The grants under this call shall co-finance projects that focus on:

• ensuring coherent and consistent application of European competition rules by national courts.

This includes substantive and procedural rules and the application of specific cooperation

1 Regulation (EU) No 1382/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a Justice Programme for

the period 2014 to 2020, OJ L354/73, 28.12.2013

2 C (2016) 1677 final, COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of 23.3.2016 concerning the adoption of the work programme for

2016 and the financing for the implementation of the Justice Programme

 

mechanisms between national judges and competition authorities (including the European

Commission and the specific cooperation rules under Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 or

Regulation (EC) No 734/2013), as well as networking and exchanges between national judges;

• language training on legal terminology, with a view to foster a common legal and judicial

culture of competition law.

These objectives can best be achieved through projects which specifically focus on the role of

national judges in the application of EU competition law, their particular needs and work

environments and pre-existing training and knowledge.

Trainings foreseeing consecutive levels, building up one on another address such different needs

best.

The projects may target an audience of one or more of the eligible countries. However, it is

recommended to address judges from several EU member states in one training/project as this

encourages networking and a coherent and consistent application of EU laws.

Projects should be organized in such way to produce results with an European added value (see

section 2.1 below). The co-financed projects are meant to be complementary and/or innovative

and not duplicating existing or planned projects of other training providers at national level.

2.1 Scope and expected results

Projects must meet the above-mentioned objectives and clearly demonstrate their EU addedvalue.

The European added value of actions, including that of small-scale and national actions,

shall be assessed in the light of criteria such as their contribution to the consistent and coherent

implementation of Union law and to wide public awareness about the rights deriving from it,

their potential to develop mutual trust among Member States and to improve cross-border

cooperation, their transnational impact, their contribution to the elaboration and dissemination of

best practices or their potential to create practical tools and solutions that address cross-border or

Union-wide challenges.

Contents of the projects should be tailored to the needs of the target audience. Projects should be designed using practice-oriented learning methods and/or innovative learning methods (including

blended learning, e-learning and simulations). The results of the projects should have a broad and long-lasting effect.

 

2.2 Target audience

The target audience must consist of national judges dealing with competition cases at national

level. This also includes prosecutors, apprentice national judges, and the staff of the judges’

offices or of national courts of eligible countries3.

3 For the purposes of this Call, the term "eligible countries" shall mean the EU Member States with the exception of Denmark and the

United Kingdom since, as mentioned in Recital 34 and 35 of Regulation 1382/2013, they have not taken part in the adoption of the

aforementioned Regulation and are therefore not bound by it or subject to its application. The programme is open to the participation of

organisations from candidate countries, potential candidates and countries acceding to the Union, in accordance with the general principles

and the general terms and conditions laid down for the participation of those countries in the Union programmes established in the

respective Framework Agreements and Association Council decisions, or similar Agreements, but specific conditions for these countries

The projects shall solely address national judges dealing with the review of national

competition authorities decisions and all final instance judges dealing with Competition

law, including antitrust and state aid.

The target audience as defined above is hereafter referred to as 'national judges'.

Judges from countries not listed as eligible countries and persons other than national judges may

participate in the projects, provided that a significant proportion of the audience consists of

national judges. However, the costs linked to their participation cannot be included as eligible

costs.

 

3. Timetable and Budget available

a) Publication of the call 19/12/2016

b) Deadline for submitting applications 31/03/2017

c) Evaluation period April- May 2017

d) Information to applicants July 2017

e) Review of budgets July-September 2017

f) Signature of grant agreement and start date of the action October 2017

g) Info day in Brussels for successful applicants October 2017

 

The total budget earmarked for co-financing projects submitted under this call is EUR 1.000.000.

The maximum grant that can be awarded is EUR 400.000 and the minimum is EUR 50.000.

The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

 

4. Subject-matter of the Projects

Projects should address in a tailored way the targeted audience, based on pre-identified training

needs.

Training projects should ensure the active participation of national judges in their training

activities, avoiding therefore mere lecturing.

The environment in which participative training for national judges takes place must be made

sufficiently secure to enable participants to freely exchange views and experiences and to learn

from one another, without external monitoring or interference. Projects are therefore at best

exclusively addressed to national judges.

must first be met before they can be funded (i.e.: these countries must have signed an Agreement in order to participate in the Programme

and must have contributed to the Budget of the European Union.).

 

There are two Areas, five Priorities and three Preferences suggested.

Projects may address more than one Area, but must clearly indicate which one is the main Area

and which is an ancillary Area.

Within an Area applicants must indicate clearly which of the Priorities mentioned below are

addressed by their proposal. Projects should address at least one of the Priorities, but may address more than one.

Proposals not covering any of the below mentioned Priorities can still be eligible, but they will be

allocated 0 points when it comes to assess the "Relevance of the objectives and the subject

matter" under the Award Criteria Guidance 2016. By way of exception to this rule, the

Authorising Officer, upon suggestion of the Evaluation Committee, may decide that the

topic/activity proposed is to be considered a priority (e.g. peculiar need in a Member State). In

this case up to 20 points may be allocated under the aforementioned heading of the Award

Criteria Guidance 2016.

Finally preference will be given to projects considering the below stated Preferences.

Area 1: Improvement of knowledge, application and interpretation of EU competition law

Projects should consist of training activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops, colloquia

etc., as well as short or long term training courses on EU competition law. Projects under this

priority should be rather oriented on advanced trainings for national judges. Basic trainings will

only be financed when duly justified (e.g. for national judges in a newly established court).

Within this area, the 2016 call focuses on the following priorities:

 

Priority 1: In the framework of State aid Modernisation and the new enforcement role of

national courts, training activities focusing on State Aid are highly recommended.

Applicants are invited to choose at least 2 out of the 4 topics listed below:

a) Notion of aid (including the method of financing of the aid through parafiscal

levies and the Services of General Economic interest5);

b) The regulations adopted in the framework of the State aid modernization exercise,

i.e. mainly the De minimis Regulation6 and the General Block Exemption

Regulation7;

c) The role of national courts8 in implementing State aid law (based on the notice on

the enforcement of State aid law by national courts and on the Recovery notice9);

d) The request for provisional measures brought before the courts and its interaction

with the EU Court proceedings.

 

Priority 2: Training activities focusing on Directive 2014/104 on antitrust damages actions10.

Member States are required to transpose the Directive in national law by 26 December 2016. The

aim of these projects is to facilitate judges' ability to apply the new rules in an accurate and

coherent manner.

Applicants are invited to choose at least 2 out of the 5 topics listed below:

a) The disclosure of evidence in proceedings relating to an action for damages;

b) The passing on of overcharges and the interplay between damages actions relating to the

same infringement but instituted by injured parties on different levels of the supply chain;

c) The quantification of antitrust harm in the framework of damages actions, including the

application of the methods for quantification identified in the Commission's Practical

Guide on the Quantification of Antitrust Harm11;

d) The interaction between the public and the private enforcement of competition law,

focussing on both the positive interaction (how can claimants benefit from enforcement

action by competition authorities) and measures to avoid negative interactions (for

example limits on the disclosure of evidence and on the joint and several liability);

e) Case management and best practices in dealing with questions of jurisdiction and

applicable law and in dealing with the situation of parallel or subsequent proceedings in

different Member States.

 

Priority 3: Training activities focusing on underlying economic principles of competition law.

Trainings should be hands-on oriented and include real case studies.

Applicants are invited to choose at least one topic:

a) Economic principles and economic reasoning (e.g., supply and demand, cost analysis,

substitution and strategic interactions in different competition environments, market

definitions, horizontal and vertically related markets, market power);

b) Assessment of economic evidence/studies in litigation and its procedural handling,

including a review of currently used estimation methods (qualitative and quantitative),

underlining advantages and limits of them, as well as the importance of consistency,

robustness and duplicability of results.

 

Priority 4: Training activities focusing on challenges at the interface between European

competition law and new developments in e-commerce and/or intellectual property laws.

Applicants are invited to choose at least one topic:

a) legal competitive assessment of the variety of online business models (looking into

distribution models, pricing models, assessment of market places and platforms, territorialand

licencing restrictions, interpretation of EU vertical- and horizontal regulations in the

context of online business models, recent EU jurisprudence etc.)

b) Antitrust scrutiny of digital markets (looking into concepts of patent protection, the role of

standard setting organisations, exclusivity rebates, predatory pricing, market definitions and

relevance of adjacent markets, two sided markets, platforms, recent EU jurisprudence on

mergers and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU in this regard)

 

AREA 2: Development of legal linguistic skills of national judges

The development of legal linguistic skills can be the main focus of a training program.

Priority 5: Projects should cover legal linguistic training activities linked to the specific

terminology used in the application of competition law. The main goal of the projects should be

the overcoming of the geographical/linguistic barriers to the benefit of the creation of a common

European judicial area.

Distribution of financial support between different priorities and allocation of points

Please refer to the "Award Criteria Guidance 2016" published with this call.

When deciding on the allocation of grants, a fair balance between priorities will be sought. The

Commission shall therefore finance at least two projects12 of each of the above 2 Areas (as main

Area).

Preference will be given to projects that:

• Provide for trainings foreseeing consecutive levels, building up one on another;

12 If enough applications are submitted.

• Do not simply duplicate/overlap existing/planned training material or existing/future

projects of other training providers at national level but that act in complementarity or that

innovate;

• Address judges from several member states in one training and thus encourage

networking;

 

 

5. Admissibility requirements

Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in

section 3.

Applications must be submitted in writing and sent by post (see section 8) using the application

form and its annexes available at http://ec.europa.eu/competition/calls/proposals_open.html.

Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

 

 

6. Eligibility, exclusion, selection and award criteria

6.1 Eligibility criteria

Projects must:

(a) be submitted by authorities, public or private organisations duly established in one of the eligible

countries, or an international organisation. Organisations of third countries may participate as

associate partners but their costs cannot be considered as eligible. Furthermore they are not

permitted to submit projects or to be co-applicants (co-beneficiaries). Organisations which are

profit-oriented must submit applications in partnership with public entities or private non-forprofit-

oriented organisations. Bodies set up by the European Union falling under Article 208 of

the Financial Regulation13 shall not be entitled to apply for a grant but may be associated to the

application. However, their costs cannot be co-funded by the grant;

(b) target the members of the target group as defined under point 2.2 of this call for proposal;

(c) seek an EU grant that cannot be lower than EUR 50 000 or higher than EUR 400 000;

(d) not be completed or have started prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

 

6.2 Exclusion criteria

6.2.1 Exclusion from participation

Applicants will be excluded from participating in this call for proposals if they are in any of the

following situations:

(a) the applicant is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets

are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with

creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous

situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the

applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security

contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those

of the country in which the contracting authority is located or those of the country of the

performance of the contract;

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the

applicant is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or

regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by

having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility

where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any

of the following:

(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the

verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection

criteria or in the performance of a contract / grant agreement;

(ii) entering into agreement with other economic operators with the aim of distorting

competition;

(iii)violating intellectual property rights;

(iv)attempting to influence the decision-making process of the contracting authority

during the procurement / grant award procedure;

(v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue

advantages in the procurement / grant award procedure;

(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the applicant is guilty of any of the following:

(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the

European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26

July 1995;

(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against

corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of

Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May

1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well

 

as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority

is located, the country in which the economic operator is established or the

country of the performance of the contract;

(iii)participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council

Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

(iv)money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive

2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in

Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or

inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in

Article 4 of that Decision;

(vi)child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2

of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

(e) it has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance

of a contract / grant agreement financed by the budget, which has led to its early termination

or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been

discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the

Court of Auditors;

(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the applicant

has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC,

Euratom) No 2988/95.

6.2.2 Exclusion from award15

Applicants will not be awarded a grant, in the course of the grant award procedure, if they:

(a) are in an exclusion situation established in accordance with Article 106 of the Financial

Regulation;

(b) have misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the

procedure or have failed to supply that information;

(c) were previously involved in the preparation of procurement documents where this entails

a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

Applicants must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the

situations referred to in Article 106.1 and 107 of the Financial Regulation. The declaration on

honour is available on our website (http://ec.europa.eu/competition/calls/proposals_open.html).

 

 

6.3 Selection criteria

Proposals that meet the eligibility criteria and do not fall under the exclusion criteria will be

evaluated on the basis of their financial capacity and operational capacity.

6.3.1 Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity

throughout the duration of the project and they must participate in its funding. Financial capacity

will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the

application:

a) Low value grants (≤ EUR 60 000): a declaration on their honour.

b) Grants > EUR 60 000: a declaration on their honour and,

EITHER

the profit and loss account, the balance sheet for the last financial year for which the

accounts were closed;

OR

for newly created entities, the business plan might replace the above documents.

On the basis of these documents, if the European Commission considers that financial capacity is

not proved in a satisfactory way, it may:

o request further information;

o propose a grant agreement without pre-financing;

o propose a grant agreement with a pre-financing paid in instalments;

o propose a grant agreement with a pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee17

o reject the application.

Verification of financial capacity does not apply to public bodies or international organisations.

6.3.2 Operational capacity

Applicants must have the professional competencies and the qualifications necessary to complete

the project or work programme. Applicants must submit a declaration on their honour, or the

following supporting documents:



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