The Western High Court recently upheld a Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) decision on merger notification forms. As a result of this ruling, even if a merger meets the criteria for simplified notification, the DCCA can require a standard notification if it cannot determine that no competition concerns will arise based solely on the simplified notification.
On 16 March 2020 significant parts of Denmark's public administration were shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the shutdown has begun to ease up, the merger control time limit suspension remains and has been extended by executive order until 10 May 2020.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Denmark, merger control has come to a temporary standstill and significant parts of the country's public administration have already been shut down for three weeks. However, the Danish competition authorities are adamant that competition law remains in force and will prioritise enforcement against companies that take advantage of the current situation through illegal behaviour, such as coordinating prices or limiting the production of certain goods.
The Supreme Court recently rendered a much-anticipated judgment on the legality of consortium agreements under competition law. The court repealed a Maritime and Commercial High Court decision from 2018 in a case concerning a consortium agreement between two companies regarding their joint bid on a public tender for road marking work. This ruling marks an increasingly restrictive practice, which may affect forms for cooperation other than consortia.
The Competition Appeals Tribunal recently upheld a decision by the Competition Council which found that two outdoor advertising companies, Clear Channel Danmark A/S and AFA JCDecaux A/S, had coordinated discount rates through an agreement. The council found that this anti-competitive behaviour had continued as a concerted practice for several years after the agreement had expired.
The government and Parliament recently made a series of political agreements to expand and extend the current economic stimulus packages regarding COVID-19, including the compensation schemes regarding wages and fixed costs, and to implement various new measures. This article outlines the impact of these agreements on employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
The government has enacted a bill on wage compensation for private sector employers. In addition to the act, the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has issued an executive order on the wage compensation scheme. The bill and executive order reflect the agreement between the government and the social partners regarding wage compensation for businesses which, as a consequence of the current economic situation, are facing dismissals.
As part of its COVID-19 measures, the government has adopted changes to the Executive Order on Payment of Unemployment Benefits to facilitate the implementation of distribution of work plans. Distribution of work plans can be implemented to allow employees to receive supplementary unemployment benefits during the period in which the plan is in force (up to 13 weeks).
A bill amending the Sickness Benefits Act has recently been enacted to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for employers and self-employed persons. The bill extends the scope of employers' right to reimbursement of sickness benefits and self-employed persons' right to receive sickness benefits, provided that the sickness absence is caused by COVID-19.
The Labour Court has ruled that a bank could prohibit its employees from investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This decision is an example of the way in which employers' managerial rights can, in certain situations, entail a right to establish rules for transactions or dealings that directly relate to employees' private life.
Geothermal energy has long been used for district heating in Denmark, but lately political and industry interest therein has been on the rise. This has resulted in an increase in applications to explore for and produce geothermal energy. Since 2017, five new exploration licences have been granted and five additional licences are currently being assessed by the Danish Energy Agency. Geothermal energy will help to fulfil the political goal of a carbon-neutral Denmark by 2050.
The Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities recently invited companies to take part in the eighth Danish licensing round for oil and gas exploration and production in the Danish North Sea. Licences were expected to be issued this summer, but political pressure on the government elected in June 2019 means that the eighth licensing round's future is uncertain.
The new government has raised the bar for climate and environmental goals with the aim of making Denmark the world leader in the transition to renewable energy. The government's climate plan calls for a significant focus on the use of wind energy and a new agreement goes even further than the 2018 energy agreement, with plans for an offshore energy island with a capacity of at least 10GW.
The signatories to the Energy Agreement recently decided the location of the first of three new offshore wind farms that will be put up for tender. Unlike previous projects in which the government was responsible for developing the offshore site and preparing the grid connection, the new wind farm will be procured through a procedure in which the winning tender will be responsible for developing and preparing the grid connection.
The government and all parties in Parliament recently entered into an agreement which entails a major commitment to developing green energy by 2030. The agreement contains a broad range of green initiatives and tax reliefs on electricity which aim to encourage Danish consumers to swap fossil fuels for green electricity. Similarly, the planned modernisation of the heating sector aims to provide both companies and consumers with greener and cheaper heating.
The Danish Energy Agency estimates that Denmark must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 32 million and 37 million tons by 2030 to reach its EU climate goals. To this end, the government recently published a new proposal regarding climate and air policy. The proposal contains 38 specific initiatives and mainly addresses the transport sector, agricultural production, shipping and green transitioning in housing and industry.
A recent Maritime and Commercial Court case examined a claim for damage to goods during unloading under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). The court found that a CMR carrier is not liable for damage in connection with the unloading of goods irrespective of whether the unloading was performed by a driver, as drivers in such instances may be deemed to act on behalf of consignees.
The Danish High Court recently addressed whether legal proceedings against a Danish shipping company, which had contracted to carry containers from China to Copenhagen, could proceed in Denmark irrespective of the fact that the claimant and the shipping company had agreed that the dispute should be heard exclusively by the UK High Court. The Danish High Court decided that the case could nevertheless be heard in the substance by the Danish courts.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently examined whether the theft of tobacco products was covered under the cargo policy agreed between a wholesaler and a carrier and whether the wholesaler's insurer was liable. It is clear from the judgment that cargo insurance coverage under the Danish Extended Conditions requires that the transport of insured goods commences immediately after loading onto the means of transport has taken place.
A recent Maritime and Commercial Court decision concerned carrier liability for temperature damage to a consignment of pharmaceuticals. The court's judgment signals that carriers must make quick decisions and implement actions to respond to temperature alarms in order to avoid unlimited liability.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court recently examined a direct action claim against a Dutch freight liability insurer in a carriage of goods by road dispute involving a bankrupt carrier and a Danish manufacturer of cigarettes. The premise relied on by the court in this matter, if not appealed, may seem ripe to undermine some insurance policies between liability insurers and international carriers, including proper law provisions and time limitation under a policy.