Project description

Online Training Tools for European Judges on Private Enforcement of EU Competition Law

Context
Private enforcement is of paramount importance for the proper application of competition rules. In this sense, different studies developed at the level of the European Commission have revealed many challenges opposing the effective and uniform enforcement of competition law across the EU. As a result of these findings, the European Commission embarked in June 2013 in an ambitious legislative reform, intended to clear the way and ensure that private enforcement of competition rules is made in accordance with their spirit and in such a way as not to hinder the efficiency of public enforcement.

However, just through legislative development, in the absence of educational initiatives for judges, little if any progress can be achieved. Consequently, various training initiatives have been developed in the field for national judges from across Europe and numerous practical guides, reports and books have been published. Notwithstanding the initial potential of these developments, the reality of their results is that they have managed to produce discontinuous effects across the EU, saturating the field with diverse training materials that have offered no consistent wide-spread positive outcomes, particularly in terms of effective enforcement.

In this context, there exists a growing need for creating an innovative and EU-wide coherent training solution in this field.

Rising to the challenge
In response to this context a consortium of two organizations has developed a new type of initiative that plans to provide a tailored training solution in the filed across Europe. These two organizations are EurActiv Romania (RO) and Fondation EurActiv (BE). The project has benefits from the support of the Association of European Competition Law Judges (UK).

The project is being funded by the European Commission, DG Competition, through the Civil Justice Programme.

EurActiv Romania
The organization has been established in the legal form of the European Actors Association (EAA). It is a Romanian civil society organization that monitors and promotes European policy changes, with a specific focus on good governance. EAA has conducted research, communication and advocacy projects, including awareness campaigns for the European Parliament and advocacy initiatives for different national and international stakeholders in various fields and disciplines. The organization is also a grant recipient of the European Commission and of the Knight Foundation (USA). 

Fondation EurActiv
Fondation EurActiv was founded in 2004 as "fondation d’utilité publique” under Belgian law by Christophe Leclercq, the founder of the media EurActiv.com. Fondation’s mission is: "faciliter efficacité et transparence de la Communauté des Acteur Européens”. It acts primarily to bring together individuals and organisations seeking to shape European Union policies. It does not lobby, except to promote online media independence, and is not aligned to any political faction or faith group.

Fondation EurActiv gathers expertise together with the Media Network, for the benefit of civil society stakeholders. Fondation provides governance and advocates for media independence and languages, fosters research and innovation, and disseminates knowledge through training and events. It includes the EU stakeholders and European Affairs blogging platform BlogActiv.eu (the premier source of content on the future of Europe), Social Media, Web 2.0, political technologies and mobile and smart device applications. 

Fondation EurActiv is part of the EurActiv Media Network – a multilingual media network, targeting EU policy and business stakeholders, journalists, NGOs and other multipliers in Europe in 13 languages. With 2.1 million page views and 667,494 ‘unique visitors’ per month (Google Analytics average for 2014), it is the leading online media on EU affairs. EurActiv provides a ‘one-stop shop’ where users can compare major stakeholder positions, original source documents and informed opinion from guru bloggers.

The Association of European Competition Law Judges 
The Association of European Competition Law Judges is a group of judges from the Member States of the European Union who hear cases in their national courts involving both national and European competition law.
The main aim of the Association is to promote knowledge and understanding of competition policy and law issues throughout the respective judiciaries of the Member States.

Summary
In direct connection to the aforementioned context, the project will aim at:
• contributing to the improvement of knowledge, application and interpretation of EU competition law, particularly with regards to the private enforcement of competition rules, by creating and disseminating an innovative video-training module,
• facilitating cross-European cooperation and experience exchange between national judges 

The project’s specific objectives will be to:
• improve the knowledge of EU judges with regard to the assessment of anti-competitive practices/tort, the evaluation of damages, and procedural hurdles (collective actions, competent courts etc.)
• facilitate the development of a cost-effective training solution for EU judges in the field of private enforcement of competition rules, by developing an online video training-module tailored to the real, practical needs of EU judges
• improve cooperation and promote experience exchange between European judges and legal professionals in the field of competition law through the development of a specialized online communication platform

In accordance with the above mentioned aims, the project’s main activities will spread across a 16 months’ time frame and will consist of:
• the development of a training curriculum for two specialized training seminars (February 16 – June 15, 2015)
• the development of a dedicated online platform (March 16 – July 15, 2015)
• two training seminars on the assessment of anticompetitive practice/tort, the evaluation of damages, and procedural hurdles - (each with at least 15 magistrates), the first taking place in Bucharest (RO) and the second in Brussels (BE). The seminars will be transmitted live on line. (November 2015 – February 2016)
• the development and dissemination of a specialized online video training-module based on the recordings of the seminars ( August 2015 – August 2016)
• a closing conference for the promotion of the module, taking place in Bucharest (RO) (May 2016)

The project has started in February the 16th 2015 and will end in August 2016.