Under certain strict conditions, agricultural producers can coordinate their pricing and quantities without falling foul of the EU competition rules. However, the European Court of Justice recently confirmed that not all practices by agricultural producer organisations and their associations are automatically excluded from the application of those rules. This judgment is a timely reminder that the EU competition rules apply broadly to the agricultural sector and that any exclusions will be interpreted restrictively.
In contrast to the position taken in Post Danmark II, in Intel Advocate General Wahl called for a common-sense approach to Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and its recentring within mainstream economic thought. Wahl's opinion offers a welcome reappraisal of the spirit and intent of Article 102's analysis of rebate schemes. However, it remains to be seen whether the European Court of Justice will accept this recommendation to revise and revisit old case law.