This year's symposium focused on consumer choice, competition and growth in the single market. In both online and bricks-and-mortar markets, themes of consumer choice, innovation, competitiveness and growth continue to dominate European policy, informing the regulation of markets and how they operate. In the food sector, concerns over choice and innovation have prompted scrutiny of unfair trading practices and how best to address them, while also providing the focus for an important data-rich study for the European Commission (The economic impact of modern retail on choice and innovation in the EU food sector). In online markets, whether for consumer goods or digital services, concerns over competition and the single market prompted a sector inquiry in 2015, with initial findings on geo-blocking and with an interim report published in 2016. This symposium explored these themes, focussing on their impact on branded products; competition with private label products; relationships with customers (including buying alliances); and the role of online platforms.
The symposium was held in June 2016 and was hosted by the Institute of European and Comparative Law and the Centre for Competition Law and Policy and was sponsored by Bristows LLP.