TD&A NEWS: Participation at EU Competition and Consumer Conference in Malta

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall, Senior Partner at Advocates, Tanti-Dougall & Associates participated at a conference organized as part of the official program of events scheduled during the six months Malta’s EU Presidency – Malta EU2017.

The well attended conference with over 200 participants from all Member States, was held at the Radisson Hotel in St Julian’s between the 23rd and 24th April, 2017 specifically to coincide with the EU Consumer and Competition Day.

The conference was opened by the Hon. Minister Dr Helena Dalli responsible for Consumer Affairs and Competition and Ign. Helga Pizzuto, Chairperson of the Malta Competition and Consumers Affairs Authority and attracted key note speakers on the subjects so discussed during the conference, including Johannes Laitenberger, Director General, DG Competition, Francisco Fonseca Morillo, Deputy Director, DG Justice and Consumers, Ulrich Kelber, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Germany, Olga Sehnalova, MEP, Member of IMCO Committee, Marie Paule Benassi, Head of Unit, Enforcement of Consumer Law and Redress, DG Justice and Consumers, Kris Dekeyser, Policy Director, DG Competition and Gianluca Sepe from the Italian Competition Authority.

Dr Michael Tanti-Dougall was chosen as moderator of the second panel at the conference which addressed the topic “Business Practices in e-commerce. Is competition being stifled?” which panel had four distinguished expert speakers: Jacque Steenbergen, President of the Belgian Competition Authority, Guido Lubrano, Deputy Director, IMLAD, Business Europe, Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General, BEUC and Thomas Kramler, Head of the Digital Single Market Task Force, DG Competition.

In Brief, Dr Tanti-Dougall introduced the subject for discussion, e-Commerce, as rapidly growing in Europe with some 296 million on-line shoppers and total sales of almost € 510 billion in 2016. As was the case for the last years, the United Kingdom, France and Germany are clearly the major e-Commerce countries in Europe and in 2015 together, they accounted for more than 60 percent of all online business on the European scenario. In fact, with € 157.1 billion, the United Kingdom is leading in B2C e-Commerce market with 43.4 million online shoppers whilst Germany has had 51.6 million online shoppers last year. However, notwithstanding, he explained that there existed a number of issues with were deemed to be anti-competition such as geo-blocking that were required to be addressed by the EU.

The successful conference was closed by Godwin Mangion, Director General [Competition] within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.