Every business owner would want to grow his/her company and make a profit. But there are many vulnerabilities to watch out for, like cartels. A cartel is a group of independent businesses that agree to engage in anti-competitive activities like fixing prices, allocating customers or markets, restricting production, or rigging bids. Cartels are harmful and illegal because they lead to higher prices, decreased product choice and less innovation. They can be big or small, with various degrees of formality and secrecy from a loose arrangement made over dinner to highly structured agreements with exclusive membership rules. In fact, you might be taking part in illegal behaviour and not even know it. Suppose Company X and Company Y are bidding for the same work. Company X agrees to drop its bid or raise its prices so the Company Y wins the contract. Or maybe a company and its competitor agree not to expand into each other’s markets, ensuring both sides remain profitable. Many business owners are not aware that these kinds of agreements are illegal under the Competition Act1 and can result in fines, jail time, or both.
Cartels in a specific type of oligopoly where entities that normally compete with one another reach agreements concerning fixing prices, setting mutually acceptable production targets, synchronising their marketing campaigns. Resultant in cooperating so as to one be more profitable compared to the competition scenario to no longer have to spend as much time and energy innovating which make it hard for new businesses to appear with the cartel making. These types of arrangements are made illegal in Section 3 of the Competition Act, 20022 under the head “anti-competitive agreements”. Economies of scale work in its favour and so examples include anything from infamous drug cartels to as strange as it may seem the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in many countries such as the US cartels, violate so-called antitrust laws and are therefore illegal with notable exceptions such as OPEC which is protected by foreign trade laws despite congressional attempts to punish it all. The cons associated with cartels primarily revolve around potential legal consequences, yet in quite a few cases market participants decided to take their chances because in their opinion the pros outweigh them.
Now, these formal or informal arrangements for forming cartels should have an appreciable adverse effect then only it attracts the anti-competitive provision, the same has been enumerated in Section 19(3)3 read in conjunction with Section 3. The word “appreciable” has been defined in Law Lexicon as “capable of being estimated, weighed, judged of or recognised by the mind capable of being perceived or recognised by the senses, perceptible but not a synonym of substantial (Black’s Law Dictionary.)”. Therefore, agreements are considered illegal only if they result in unreasonable restrictions on competition. This is tested on the “rule of reason” analysis; an agreement has been defined only inclusively,4 and not exhaustively under Section 2(b) of the Act 4. According to the provisions of the Act, an agreement may be oral or in writing, and may or may not be enforceable by legal proceedings.5 Moreover, the basic requirement for establishing an arrangement is that the parties to it shall have communicated with one another in some way. In order to challenge the acts of any enterprise on the ground of causing appreciable adverse effect on competition it is sine qua non for the informant to establish that there existed an agreement between those enterprises. “Agreement” under Section 2(b) of the Competition Act, 2002 is modelled on the lines of Section 6(3) of the United Kingdom’s Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1976 as follows:
- (b)“agreement” includes any arrangement or understanding or action in concert,—
(i) whether or not, such arrangement, understanding or action is formal or in writing; or
(ii) whether or not such arrangement, understanding or action is intended to be enforceable by legal proceedings;
Section 2(b), while defining “agreement”, takes within its sweep “any arrangement” or “understanding” or “action in concert”, even if it was arrived at informally and even if not intended to be enforceable.6 If any of these elements are found to be in existence, it can be said that there was an agreement. “Arrangement” is the scheme in which all participants first decide to operate and then operate it based on acceptance of mutual obligations towards each other.7 The term “understanding” implies some sort of behavioural communication between two or more parties resulting in the adoption of a particular course of conduct by them.8 This is no less than an understanding within the definition of “agreement”. “Concerted practices” are a form of coordination between undertakings by which, without having reached the stage of a formal agreement, practical cooperation can be traced.9 Enterprises might use it intentionally with the objective of using it as a tool to abuse the mechanism which is in its first place provided for mitigating losses and to rationalise significant supply of medical infrastructure and other essential commodities during the pandemic.
Legally speaking the antitrust authorities are concerned with the unprecedented situation which may tempt businesses towards efforts which may be anti-competitive and violate these abovementioned provision related to two most likely areas of potential infringement which is an abuse of dominant position and price gouging.
Having an understanding of cartelisation, undoubtedly corona has affected the economy and the supply chain itself. Due to the disruption or disproportionate supply chains and production processes of companies that are significantly interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it as a “global pandemic” dated 11-3-2020. Companies are trying to find solutions in order to minimise the impacts of the pandemic on their businesses including cooperating with each other. Meanwhile, customers have been facing price hikes particularly on pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and food. In the whole process now, we have to examine how different guidelines have allowed the cartelisation and to what extent.
Exemption under guideline issued by various national and international authorities
After taking into consideration the situation and the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, the European Union (the EU) has released a detailed guideline stating that the European Commission shall provide guidance and legal certainty to pharmaceutical companies who may need to coordinate to meet the high demand in the sector.10 Additionally, the Commission has also released a communication specifically for the airline sector, clarifying that it will not actively intervene against necessary and temporary measures taken to address a shortage of supply.11
According to the guidelines issued by the EU in the year, 2020 during the corona pandemic which allowed cartelisation and exempted cartelisation for the time being. It stated that the current confinement measures have led to a decrease in air freight capacity and price increases. The pharmaceutical industry relies mainly on small volume shipments by air. The member States should consider actions to ensure air cargo capacity for transport of medicines, APIs, intermediates, and raw materials in line with the Commission guidelines. Member States should encourage cargo and express airlines to exceptionally reserve capacity for the supply of essential goods, in particular medical and emergency supplies, and to apply reasonable shipping rates for such supplies.
Similarly, maritime cargo services need to run smoothly and without unnecessary delays to ensure the continuity of supply chains. In order to effectively facilitate transport, inland vessels travelling to manufacturing sites after or before pick up must also be allowed to cross borders without delays. Secondly, the Norwegian Competition Authority, Konkurransetilsynet has granted a temporary exemption from competition laws to the transport sector.12 The exception makes it possible, in particular, to maintain the transportation of passengers and goods in Norway in order to secure the population access to necessary goods and services. The exception does not go further than what is strictly necessary. Agreements and practices covered by the exception must to the largest extent possible further the efficient use of resources and the interests of consumers.13
Thirdly, the Icelandic Competition Authority has opened up an information centre dedicated specifically to responding to queries regarding the current pandemic.14 Fourthly, similar actions have been taken by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority in granting exemptions to collaboration aimed at securing the supply of essential goods and services. It stated that companies may need to work together to ensure adequate supply or the equal distribution of products to all consumers. The FCCA will not intervene in measures that are necessary to ensure the sufficient availability of products.15
Lastly, European Competition Network (ECN) issued a joint statement on the application of competition law during the corona crisis where it is stated that in the current circumstance after considering all the extraordinary situation, ECN will not actively intervene against necessary and temporary measures put in place in order to avoid a shortage of supply.16 Additionally, considering the current circumstances, such measures are unlikely to be problematical, since they would either not amount to a restriction of competition under Article 101 of TFEU17 and Article 53 of EEA18 or generate efficiencies that would most likely outweigh any such restriction.
Wherein, talking about the Indian stand on it, we have certain inbuilt safeguards which are provided by the antitrust legislation that if the acts undertaken by the enterprises do more harm than good. “Advisory to Businesses in Time of Covid-19” issued by the Competition Commission of India dated 19-4-2020, also specifies the same.19 When a price leader alters the price of his goods or services due to factors such as an increase in the cost of inputs, raw materials, or other related causes, most of the competitors will have no choice but to follow him, though the extent could vary. This cannot be said to be illegal because its behaviour is based on the sheer economic premise that any price increase taken by a small player ahead of the price leader would imply significant penalties in terms of loss of the customer.20
Also, there is a distinction between price cartelisation and a perfectly legitimate economic and business behaviour in responding to a situation in which a competitor is placed in a price leadership position. The doctrine of de minimis deals with the concept wherein agreements of enterprises with insignificant market shares have an insignificant effect on the market i.e. it is unlikely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition in the market, therefore capable of being used as a factor to militate against appreciable adverse effect on competition (AAEC).
Rule of severability applies, and nullity affects only the prohibited clauses in the agreement. A thing that is void is non est. The ECJ clarified the erga omnes nature of the nullity envisaged by Article 101(2), envisaging that the void agreement has no effect between the contracting parties, and thus cannot be set up against third parties.
In certain circumstances, it can be established that firms that are collaborating on some socially valuable activity may need to agree to do away with the competition to establish a cooperative relationship. Agreements are considered illegal only if they result in an unreasonable restriction on competition that is tested on the basis of “rule of reason” analysis. Where the agreement is formed to augment the supply of services against increasing demand in light of transporting essentials to those vulnerable affected by the pandemic, it qualifies the test of socially valuable activity. And this COVID-19 global pandemic has set such circumstances which make it the perfect example of creating a crisis cartel which the article will try to discuss in its next section in depth.
When facing an economic downturn, forming a crisis cartel could be a sound alternative to initiate cooperation with other operators to overcome shared challenges to survive in the economy. Crisis cartels are agreements or contracts entered into between two or more enterprises for a specific period which aimed at reducing overcapacity caused by exogenous factors. Over the years, several undertakings have attempted this, including by referring to the need in times of crisis to reduce overcapacity in a particular sector, or by referring to an imminent economic crisis that may force virtually all undertakings in the sector out of the market. These arrangements may end up being so-called “crisis cartels”, where a significant number of operators cooperate in order to find a common solution to their challenges in times of crisis and do it in a way that goes beyond what is lawful. Such agreements may, for example, have as their object to reduce overcapacity or agree on prices to prevent undertakings from going bankrupt or leaving the market.
In a judgment from 1984, the European Court of Justice held that an agreement of long duration between competitors concerning the supply of products constituted a violation of the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements. The Court held in this connection that competing producer undertakings were not allowed to enter into indefinite agreements on the reciprocal supply of unlimited quantities of products, although this could be allowed in certain circumstances if the object was to avoid emergencies in cases of force majeure. Hence, the judgment indicates that there may be a certain limited scope for action if the circumstances are so exceptional that it can be considered a real crisis.21
Additionally, Martijn Snoep, who is the Chairman of the board at Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), has already declared that ACM will apply the competition rules in a more lenient manner during the corona crisis. Supermarkets, for instance, are allowed to inform each other about their stocks (exchange of sensitive competitive information, which is usually prohibited outside a crisis). Medicine wholesalers may also keep each other informed of the number of products that they sell. ACM has not yet been very explicit about the possibilities of forming crisis cartels, however, by looking at past precedent which is set for forming such crisis cartels can be beneficial in such troublesome times.22
In such exceptional circumstances the impact of a crisis on the incentive of firms to cartelise, firstly, will depend on the nature of the crisis, be it sectoral, national, or international. In each case, a crisis is taken here to refer to deterioration in economic performance indicators (such as demand) beyond that associated with a typical business cycle downturn. Second, in thinking through the impact of each type of crisis on the behaviour of cartel members it will be useful to identify how the crisis affects the business environment and, more importantly, the incentive to cartelise or to remain a cartel member. Fortunately, there is a well-established logic for thinking through such matters.
That even if a crisis-era policy towards cartels and cartel law enforcement has an established motive, or motives, that do not imply that the policy is necessarily “justified”. Evaluation of the relative merits of a specific policy proposal turns critically on the evaluation criteria and the alternative policy options considered. Concerning evaluation criteria, economists typically distinguish between so-called economic welfare criteria (consumer surplus and total welfare) and all other criteria, which are referred to as non-economic criteria.23
That given a non-economic objective and the willingness of policymakers to trade-off attaining this objective against the costs of doing so, then a crisis cartel is said to be justified if the associated contribution to the stated objective and the cost incurred as evaluated by the policymaker is the most beneficial option available.24
In case of Chinese Taipei, up to and including the east Asian financial crisis, the OECD Secretariat Paper for the 2006 Peer Review of Chinese Taipei’s competition law25 notes that earlier the trend of policy was generally speaking towards restricting inter-firm rivalry. OECD in its review/report for the year 2008 stated that:
Policy attention to market competition has a long lineage, although the usual tendency was to suppress it. Rules against monopolisation and price-fixing can be found as far back as the code of the Tang dynasty. But central control has also been prominent. Cultural distrust of traders led readily to reliance on price controls and State regulation or ownership of resources and production. The private sector joined in anti-competitive restraints. Guilds were enforcing price-fixing agreements at the turn of the 20th century. As late as the mid-1980s, courts in Chinese Taipei were entertaining private competition suits in the form of complaints that competitors were cheating on cartel agreements. Meanwhile, the Government commonly intervened to protect the interests of enterprises.26
Even when a new fair trade law (FTL) was enacted in 1991, provisions exempting crisis cartels from prohibition on cartelisation were included. Moreover, other exemptions that might plausibly be invoked in economic crisis were included such as “uniform specifications (to reduce costs, improve quality or increase efficiency), joint research and development, specialisation and rationalisation of operations, export cartels, import agreements, and agreements among SMEs to improve efficiency and strengthen competitiveness”.27
Competition during a severe crisis, such as coronavirus pandemic may show that only few companies survive in the market. It is often not favourable to competition in the medium to long term if straightaway there are hardly any parties remaining due to the competition during a crisis. The consumers may be faced with higher pricing or less freedom of choice, as well as a deduction in product or service availability or quality. Therefore, temporary crisis cartel may prevent that unwanted scenario and can be helpful to the competition among companies and to the consumers in the medium to long term.
Similarly, in case of supermarkets28 by working together, it could provide a more consistent supply of food in the face of current demand increases for food supply. Sharing stock data and coordinating supply networks, distribution depots, delivery vans, which stores should remain open, and possibly personal exchanges are all part of this. For example, if one supermarket has a lot of fresh vegetables and the other does not, it would be good to coordinate the distribution of these items so that the customers may purchase them in both the stores. Moreover, medicine wholesalers also keep each other informed about the number of products that they sell.
In terms of cartel enforcement, Governments are responding to the following—
- Many law enforcement agencies have issued temporary guidelines defining when and where collaboration is permissible. Given that several industries have experienced supply constraints (for example, hand sanitiser), it is no surprise that many enforcement agencies’ efforts to date have been focused on tackling short-term capacity issues.
For example, companies may cooperate to “guarantee supply and equitable distribution of scarce products to all consumers”, according to a statement made by the European Competition Network. Temporary remedies are thought to be unlikely to impede competition in such instances, or if they do, they are likely to provide efficiency gains that will offset any potential harm.
- Other actions have been implemented in order to maintain crucial services. In Norway, a block exemption for airlines and other transportation businesses was established to ensure that citizens have access to goods and services they require. This exemption permits coordination agreements between all modes of transportation as long as cooperation ensures the preservation of “socially vital” infrastructure.
- Dealing with the problem of overcapacity, in the past, crisis cartels were not regarded any differently from ordinary cartels under EU competition law. Even in situations of long-term structural overcapacity—for example, as a result of a recession—the European Commission has maintained that the criteria for cartel exemptions under Article 101(3) TFEU are rarely met and that overcapacity should be resolved through market forces. This suggests that, in Europe, businesses with items that are seeing little or no demand as a result of the epidemic will be limited in their capacity to coordinate their actions under competition law. Outside of the EU, Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) has approved the collaboration of food and beverage industry competitors in order to mitigate the pandemic’s impact and, in particular, to prevent small food stores from leaving the market. These measures, in particular, enable large food suppliers to collaborate on special terms, such as discounts for purchases that must be passed on to consumers (to encourage demand), and longer payment periods and loans for businesses. These measures, which follow OECD guidelines, do not allow for the coordination of commercial initiatives or the exchange of sensitive information but are a novelty in that they are aimed at dampening demand shocks to these businesses.
The rules on State aid form a crucial part of the relationship between State involvement in, or regulation of national markets and community competition law. The Treaty has specific provisions under Article 8729 to Article 8930 of Treaty on the Functioning of European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices for regulating State aid granted by the member States. The basic rationale behind these rules is that the level competitive playing field for undertakings throughout the community may be jeopardised by any grant of aid to undertakings by public authorities of member States.
As also provided by the commentaries on competition law31 which state that general justification for State aid is that it may contribute to the correction of market failures or market imperfections. State aid often produces important externalities (for example, employment aid, environmental aid, aid for research and development, or regional aid) which may sufficiently compensate the distortion of competition. These factors will have to be considered in the appreciation of the compatibility of aid with the common market.
Accordingly, the control of State aid is a particularly political and sensitive issue, with great potential for conflict between the aims of the community and the nationalistic concerns of member States. It follows that this is a task particularly suited to the Commission which should act in the general interests of the community and without nationalistic prejudice.
Article 87(2) specifically deals with mandatory exemptions by stating that three specific forms of aid shall be compatible with the common market.32 It is uncertain whether these types of aid are free from the duty of notification. The three forms of aid are first, the aid of a social character,33 secondly, granted to individual consumers and without discrimination as to the origin of the products; and lastly, aid to make good the damage caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences;34 and aid granted to certain areas of the Federal Republic of Germany in order to compensate for the economic disadvantages caused by the division of Germany.
The Commission has developed several sectoral policies in its application of the State aid rules, with certain sectors such as shipbuilding, steel, coal, the motor vehicle industry, the synthetic fibre industry, and transport being subject to specific rules.35 In other industries, the general State aid rules continue to apply and the position is less clear. However, the Commission introduced general guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms and these have been revised recently.36
The basic principles remain the same, although the Commission’s approach is more restrictive in scope. Rescue aid must consist of financial assistance at normal commercial interest rates, be restricted to the amount necessary to keep a firm in business and to the time in which a feasible recovery plan can be devised, be justified on the grounds of serious social difficulties, and have no undue adverse effects on the industrial situation in the other member States.
Many national Governments including that of the Netherlands are complying with the demands made of State aid. The Commission has also announced that it will offer support and will accommodate measures taken by national Governments wherever possible, also by flexibly applying the State aid rules. The Commission’s measures that are relevant from a State aid perspective are set out in the temporary framework. The Commission introduced a similar temporary legal framework for State aid at the time of the economic crisis in 2008. Through the current measures, the Commission wishes to provide the member States with specific tools under Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union37 to deal with serious economic disruptions.38 Those measures supplement rather than replace the current possibilities to provide State aid.
The EU has classified COVID-19 as an exceptional circumstance under the said article and has introduced a temporary framework, approving at least 30 State aid measures, which total to more than EUR 325 billion.39 The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has guaranteed that no French business will face bankruptcy, with unlimited State financial aid available. State aid measures are capable of achieving efficiency benefits by removing inefficient capacity from a market.40
Moreover, specifically concerning the situation of an outbreak of global pandemic COVID-19 in India, an article explains and deliberates by giving a sneak peek into the EU’s new block exemption regulation for liner shipping consortia and proceeds to trace the developments in competition law prevailing in Pakistan right from its inception which at present is nearly identical to EU’s Competition Law and concludes by favouring the State aid mechanism in India as far as the Indian competition regime is concerned with the help of a case study.41
Since the Government has not specifically come out with any exemptions with regard to certain sectors from the purview of antitrust laws, therefore it would be interesting to note how the antitrust watchdog would be handling any such collaboration between competitors such as healthcare providers for sharing technical knowhow, or supermarket dealers who might indulge in deciding prices of commodities in future, or food aggregators dealing with retailers in order to provide easy services, etc. These collaborations will be monitored closely in the light of antitrust regulations in the country which also have a close eye on the intentions of the enterprises while forming such cartels.
Although competition authorities continue to have zero tolerance for cartels and are on the lookout for price hikers taking advantage of the crisis, most of them recognise that the pandemic may necessitate collaboration between entities to ensure supply chain continuity and allow consumers to access critical products such as pharmaceuticals and food during the crisis.
As a result, certain competition authorities have adopted a more liberal approach to such collaboration. Even said, such an approach should not be viewed as a blank check by companies, who must still verify that they follow their jurisdiction’s competition law. In this regard, we recommend the entities to closely follow the statements and actions of the competent competition authorities in order not to face any inconveniences.
Also, it is critical to provide financial assistance to the affected industries and other struggling businesses through State aid in order to keep them afloat, the approach should be rational and balanced, based on an assessment of the businesses involved, the parties’ financial situations. Thus, a balance must be struck such that the regulatory exemptions are established to ensure long-term market competitiveness.
* Fourth-year law student, BA LLB (Hons.), National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, Hyderabad. Author can be reached at email@example.com.
** Second-year law student, BA LLB (Hons.) at Dr B. R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonepat.
1 Competition Act, 2002. http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/C1YA2h2H.
2 Section 3 of Competition Act, 2002. http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/ia7u7CL0.
3 Section 19(3), Competition Act, 2002. http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/82e9O4p7.
4 Suresh Chandra Bose v. State of W.B., 1975 SCC OnLine Cal 131; Agreement, Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Edn. 2004).
4 Section 2(b), Competition Act, 2002. http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/0JcXWr2O.
5 Abir Roy, Competition Law in India: A Practical Guide 46 (Eastern Law House, 2nd Edn. 2016).
6 Builders Assn. of India v. Cement Manufacturers’ Assn., 2012 SCC OnLine CCI 43.
7 Mileage Conference Group of the Tyre Manufacturers’ Conference Ltd.’s Agreement, In re, 1979 ECR 2435.
8 Director General (Supplies & Disposals) v. Puja Enterprises, 2013 SCC OnLine CCI 55.
9 Rajasthan Cylinders and Containers Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 16 SCC 615.
10Communication from the Commission Guidelines on the Optimal and Rational Supply of Medicines to Avoid Shortages during the COVID-19 Outbreak, Official Journal of the European Union, 2020/C 116 I/01.
11European Commission Guidelines: Facilitating AIR Cargo Operation during COVID-19 Outbreak, C(2020) 2010 final.
12Airlines given the Go-Ahead to Cooperate, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Press Release dated 18-3-2020.
13Transportation Sector is Granted Temporary Exception from the Competition Act, Konkurransetilsynet, Norwegian Competition Authority dated 19-3-2020.
14Application of Competition Rules and Competition Control during economic difficulties due to Covid-19, Icelandic Competition and Markets Authority, Samkeppniseftirlitið.
15The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) will take into Account the Exceptional Circumstances Caused by the Coronavirus when Applying the Competition Act, Press Release dated 23-3-2020.
16 Antitrust: Joint Statement by the European Competition Network (ECN) on Application of Competition Law during the Corona Crisis, March 2020.
17 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, EU Law, Art. 101.
18 Agreement on the European Economic Area, EU Law, Art. 53.
19 Competition Commission of India, Advisory to Businesses in Time of Covid-19.
20Ministry of Corporate Affairs, High Level Committee on Competition Policy & Law 4.3.2 (Government of India, 2000).
21Compagnie Royale Asturienne des Mines SA v. Commission of the European Communities, ECLI:EU:C:1984:130, C-29/83.
22 Murco Mijnlieff, ACM: Ensuring that Markets Work Well, also in 2021, rep. ACML.NL, Publication date 14-1-2021.
23 OECD, Policy Roundtables, Crisis Cartels, 2011, pp. 22-23.
24 OECD, Policy Roundtables, Crisis Cartels, 2011, p. 25.
25 OECD Secretariat Paper for the 2006 Peer Review of Chinese Taipei’s Competition Law.
26 OECD, Annual Report, 2008, p. 130.
27 OECD, Annual Report, 2008, p. 134.
28 Covid-19: CMA Approach to Essential Business Cooperation, CMA Press Note dated 19-3-2020.
29 Treaty on the Functioning of European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices, European Commission Treaty, Art. 87, Regulation No. 2790/1999.
30 Treaty to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices, European Commission Treaty, Art. 89, Regulation No. 2790/1999.
31 Bary J. Rodger & Angus MacCulloch, Competition Law and Policy in the European Community and United Kingdom, 2nd Edn., pp. 245-267.
32 Bendetti v. Munari, (Case 52/76), 1977 ECR 163.
33 EC Treaty, Art. 87(2)(a).
34 EC Treaty, Art. 87(2)(a).
35 Moritz Lorenz, An Introduction to EU Competition Law, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
36 Community Guidelines on State Aid for Rescuing and Restructuring firms in difficulty, OJ C288/02, 1999.
37 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, EU Law, Art. 107.
38 Richard Whsih & David Bailey, Competition Law, Oxford, 7th Edn., p. 53.
39 Paula Riedel, Thomas Wilson, Shane Cranley, EU State Aid and Covid-19, Kluwer Competition Law Blog, 24-3-2020.
40 Policy Roundtables: Crisis Cartels, OECD, 2011.
41 Amit Kapur, Mansoor Ali Shoket and Manas Kumar Chaudhuri, Current Legal Appraisals in Competition Law in Various Jurisdiction, Competition Law & Policy, Manupatra, Journal of Oct. 09-Dec. 09.