ZWeR 2023, 446

RWS Verlag Kommunikationsforum GmbH & Co. KG, Köln RWS Verlag Kommunikationsforum GmbH & Co. KG, Köln 2199-1723 Zeitschrift für Wettbewerbsrecht ZWeR 2023 EntscheidungsbesprechungStefan Thomas*

Structure and Enforcement of the SIEC Test – Analyzing the CK Telecoms Judgment of the Court of Justice

The Court of Justice in its judgment of 13 July 2023 in CK Telecoms has dealt with important questions about the construal and the enforcement of the SIEC test. The decision had been awaited eagerly, since it was the first case in which the Luxembourg courts decided on the direct application of the SIEC criterion outside the scope of the notion of market dominance since the entering into force of the new EU Merger Control Regulation (EUMR) in 2004. Core issues are the burden of proof and the standard of proof, the definition of certain theories of harm, as well as the dealings with efficiencies. The following article analyzes the judgment and draws general conclusions on doctrines behind the SIEC test.


  • I. Introduction
  • II. Burden of Proof and Standard of Proof Under the SIEC Test
    • 1. Dispute Before the ECJ
    • 2. Analysis of the ECJ Judgment
      • 2.1 The Distinction Between Probability and the Quality of Evidence
      • 2.2 On Presumptions and the Burden of Proof
  • III. The Relevance of Theories of Harm for Law Enforcement
    • 1. Preliminary Considerations
    • 2. Inter-Partes Competition and the Remaining Competitive Environment
      • 2.1 Dispute Before the ECJ
      • 2.2 Analysis of the ECJ Judgment
        • 2.2.1 The Effects of Horizontal Mergers
        • 2.2.2 Why Focussing on Inter-Partes Competition Alone is Problematic
    • 3. Elimination of an Important Competitive Force
    • 4. Elimination of a Close Competition
      • 4.1 Dispute Before the ECJ
      • 4.2 Underlying Principles of This Theory of Harm
      • 4.3 Assessment of the ECJ Judgment
        • 4.3.1 The Relevance of the Degree of Closeness
        • 4.3.2 Other Important Factors to be Considered
        • 4.3.3 Concepts for Assessing the Closeness of Competition as an SIEC-Indicator
          • Preliminary Observations
          • On a De Minimis-Threshold
          • Defining a Critical Degree of Closeness Based on the Concrete Potential of the Merger to Cause Harm
          • Assessment of the ECJ Judgment
  • IV. Dealing with Efficiencies
    • 1. Dispute Before the ECJ
    • 2. Evidence of Efficiencies
      • 2.1 Preliminary Observations
      • 2.2 The Analytical Steps When Quantifying Unilateral Effects
      • 2.3 Comparison with the Old Market Dominance Test
    • 3. Assessment of the ECJ Judgment
      • 3.1 No Generally Accepted Efficiency Figures
      • 3.2 Why an Implicit Statement About the Absence of Offsetting Efficiencies is Part of the Theory of Harm
      • 3.3 Defining the Significance of Unilateral Effects
  • V. Conclusions
Professor of Law, Holder of the Chair in Private Law, Commercial Law, Competition and Insurance Law, University of Tübingen, Director of the Tübingen Research Institute on the Determinants of Economic Activity (TRIDEA)
Eine deutsche Fassung dieses Beitrags ist im vorherigen Heft 3 ZWeR 2023 S. 281 – 308 erschienen.

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