Competition and corona crisis in Spain

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 by María Pilar Canedo Arrillaga, Professor of Law, University of Deusto

1. Spain is one of the countries that has been more seriously affected by the COVID19. In order to protect the health of citizens, the Spanish Government adopted some rules that radically limit the social and economic activity in Spain imposing the obligation to stay at home for citizens for a long period and ordering what has been called “the hibernation of the economic activity” for 15 days in all the non essential sectors (mostly health services, security and food)[i]. Those rules are having a dramatic effect in the economy especially in the labour market. This has implied the most relevant rise in the unemployment figures in Spain since the arrival of democracy in 1978[ii]. Also, they are having huge implications in the protection of legal certainty and social and personal rights of the citizens. Those consequences have a more relevant impact in the weaker actors in society both from the social and economic perspective and therefore the Government has decided to take measures with the aim of reducing the impact of the crisis in economy in general and, in particular to help those more harmed by the situation[iii].

2. It is evident that the most relevant overriding reason of general interest, which is human life, needs protection. That implies limits in the rights of the people that we could not foresee some months ago and those radical changes in social and economic behaviours will have impact in our business and industrial economy not only in the short term.

In these circumstances we can hear more radical voices claiming for a change in our economic model towards one in which the public sector controls different aspects of society, including company’s ownership[iv]. Others claim for public control of economic activity and/or business behaviour[v]. Others claim for higher protection to the companies so they can contribute to lower the destruction of employment[vi].

Also, we can witness some (infrequent) business behaviours that profit the situation of need and legal exception and maximize their benefits in abusive ways that fall under different prohibitions of the law. Some of them, with criminal implications, others, with labour, tax, social security or competition law[vii].

Dealing with the latter, there is an increasingly relevant movement that asks for a more lenient application of the competition law rules and principles in reference both with the administrative and legislative measures adopted to tackle with this situation and its application and with the enforcement activities conducted by the competition authorities.
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Comment on “La nueva relación entre el Estado y la sociedad”, by José Esteve Pardo

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by Agustín Ruiz Robledo, Professor at Universidad de Granada

Review on the book “La nueva relación entre el Estado y la sociedad”, by José Esteve Pardo, Ed. Martial Pons, Madrid, 2013.

The economic crisis has been studied almost from the moment it broke in front of European’s faces in 2008, a time in which many of us thought that the crisis was a purely American matter. Without intending to be very precise, we could say that this broad collective reflection has produced a specialization among economists, who analyse the causes, and lawyers, who focus on the consequences that the crisis is having on our system. However, José Esteve Pardo, Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Barcelona, has broken this pattern to try an approach to the background of the crisis, a crisis that he considers to be of all European states and not just one in particular. In his thesis, as he advances in the title, he considers that the balance between society and State which was gained in the Occidental world after World War II has been broken. This telluric movement, or “fault” as the author calls it, derives in economic problems, terrible unemployment figures, rampant corruption, etc.

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