W@CompetitionNL held a Launching event in Amsterdam on 23 September 2019.
Attended by 120 competition professionals, the fully booked event was hosted at the Amsterdam headquarters of Booking.com. Co-founders of W@CompetitionNL, Claudia Bruins (lawyer at C-Law Competition Lawyers) and Siún O’Keeffe Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets) opened the event, introducing keynote speaker, Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer. She spoke of the Dutch government’s plans for possible regulation of Big Tech, as outlined in her letters to Parliament and to the European Commission. She emphasised the dangers of piece-meal national legislation in this area, supporting a European approach. She encouraged the audience, which was largely though not exclusively female, to seize career opportunities as they presented themselves, and “just do it!”. The event consisted of two “double espressos” – short, intense, pithy interviews giving new and refreshing insights on the topical issues of Big tech and private damages claims.
The first double espresso was introduced by Rita Wezenbeek of the European Commission’s DG Comp. In that double espresso, Maria Rochas Barros, Chief Legal Officer of Booking interviewed former European Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes. Ms Kroes was emphatic on the need for government to foster an encouraging environment for innovation and digital start-ups, while defending the European approach to creating a competitive environment for business and respecting privacy.
The second double espresso was introduced by Monique van Oers (Director Legal Services) of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets. Machteld de Monchy, partner at De Brauw, interviewed ABB's Head Antitrust Practice Group Dominique Speekenbrink. The interview explored how companies can find themselves in the situation of plaintiff, defendant and leniency applicant in relation to private damages actions.
Barbara Nijs and Anne-Claire Hoyng, both team members of W@CompetitionNL, finally encouraged the participants to join W@CompetitionNL in order to benefit from this podium for women competition professionals, and ensure their visibility. The event was closed by a Launching Reception at the top floor of Booking.com's HQ overlooking Amsterdam city skyline.