Commission for Protection of Competition
Commission Representatives at the Conference Marking the 20th Anniversary of the CCA

FICDelegation of the Commission for Protection of Competition headed by President of the Commission Dr. Miloje Obradović participated at the International Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Croatian Competition Agency organized in Zagreb.

President Obradović also partook in a panel discussion dedicated to judicial control in competition cases. On the occasion, Dr. Obradović pointed that judicial control of competition authority’s decisions is a guarantee of legal certainty for both undertakings and the Commission. For precisely that reason, Dr. Obradović underlined the necessity for specialization of judges on antitrust law and policy subject-matter, since otherwise, in his view, it cannot be expected that the courts will rule in antitrust procedures with full subject-matter jurisdiction, or respectively it can be expected that they will be retained at the level of investigation and assessment of potential infringements of the rules of procedure.

“The problem is, and we have to underline it, that antitrust law and policy subject-matter nonetheless, figuratively speaking, speaks in its own language and cannot be strictly translated into the administrative procedure language, thus we have proposed as a favorable solution to strengthen the education of judges toward advancing judicial capacities in regard to decision-making in this area.” – President Obradović emphasized during the panel discussion.

The Croatian Competition Agency’s Conference was attended by more than one hundred experts – judges, professors, attorneys-at-law and undertakings.

The Commission’s delegation also comprised of Member of the Council Marko Obradović and Senior Advisor in the Competition Infringement Division Marija Kovačević.

This event also served as an opportunity for broadening of already good cooperation established between the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia and the Croatian Competition Agency, inter alia, marked with the signing of the Memorandum on Cooperation in 2013, followed by a series of joint activities affecting the operative advancement of the Commission and the Agency.

EC Expert Mission Visits Commission

EKThe Commission for Protection of Competition hosted the European Commission Expert mission visiting institutions of the Republic of Serbia from November 13, 2017 with the goal of providing consultancy in relation to the fulfillment of transitional measures concerning the media. These discussions are conducted with the goal of achieving more qualitative negotiation talks on the Republic of Serbia accession to the European Union within the Chapter 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights).

During the meeting, Commission’s representatives introduced the Expert mission members to the role and competences of the Commission for Protection of Competition in relation to the control of concentrations, media ownership, its role in drafting and preparing a media strategy, manner of functioning of key institutions and regulatory authorities with respect to the policy implementation in this area, as well as to other open issues.

Particular emphasis was placed on the fact that when conducting controls on mergers and acquisitions of ownership, i.e. management rights in the media, the Commission acts in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Protection of Competition, and that, in this respect, pluralism and diversity of media content is not a criterion determining the Commission when assessing the permissibility of concentration, since that issue is in the competence of other regulatory authorities and line ministry.

Delegations were headed by Member of the Council of the Commission for Protection of Competition Čedomir Radojčić, and Francesco Sciacchitano, Head of the EC Expert mission.

White Book Establishes Commission’s Operating Progress

FICThe Foreign Investors Council (FIC) in Serbia presented its traditional edition of the White Book 2017, an overview of the business environment in Serbia with concrete recommendations on how to improve it, as an additional contribution provided by foreign investors operating in Serbia.

This document establishes that this year as well, the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia achieved a significant progress in its operating activities, and welcomes the announcements of further advancements of legislative framework, which will enable more efficient implementation of the competition policy in Serbia.

In accordance with the assessment of the Foreign Investors Council: “The scope of the Commission’s activities in the various fields of its competences, as well as its readiness to use complex mechanisms provided for by the Law, constitute a significant progress when compared to the previous period. Also, the Commission began implementing economic analyses in the proceedings of examining infringements of competition and complex mergers in order to prove a violation. This indicates that some improvement was made in the quality of the decision-making process of the Commission in proving particularly complex violations”.

The investors’ recommendation is that the Commission should continue with the enactment of by-laws defining certain categories core to the anti-trust framework in more detail, as well as to prepare clear guidelines and instructions containing the manner of implementation of certain provisions of the Law.

“In addition, compared to the previous years, the Commission clearly made a significant effort in developing competition advocacy. Specifically, it is now publishing its opinions and decisions, issuing notifications on its activities on its official website and organizing promotional activities more frequently. This positive development is important as it contributes to the overall improvement of the current legal framework and to the general public’s and media’s better understanding of competition rules and activities and the importance of the Commission’s role, thus simultaneously raising awareness about the need for and importance of competition rules in general” – the “White Book” specifies.

Protecting Competition and Preventing Corruption in Public Procurement Procedures

Representatives of the Commission for Protection of Competition attended the two-day workshop “Public procurements in the light of protecting competition and preventing corruption”, organized in Vrdnik from 6-7 November 2017 by the OSCE Mission to Serbia.

In addition to the Commission for Protection of Competition, the workshop was also attended by representatives of the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Republic Commission for Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures.
The workshop topics for the first day covered the issues of related persons and data protection, conflict of interest, as well as legal protection. The Commission for Protection of Competition presented its role in the prevention of competition infringements in public procurements. During the second day, participants paid particular attention to the modalities for strengthening cooperation between institutions.

Pursuant to the Agreement on co-operation from November last year, signed by the Commission for Protection of Competition with the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Republic Commission for Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures, and toward a new Law on Protection of Competition, participants identified the need for improvement of functioning, convergence of positions per matters of mutual interest, as well as joint participation in activities which facilitate affirmation of policies implemented by these authorities.

Serbian Railways Fulfilled Obligations per Commission Request

kzk-ekofThe Commission for Protection of Competition adjourned a proceeding instituted ex officio against Joint Stock Company “Serbian Railways” from Belgrade, following the company’s acting in accordance with all obligations set in the Conclusion on suspension of proceeding of January 19, 2016, wherewith has implemented measures for removal of competition infringement.

By fulfilling obligations in accordance with the said conclusion of the Commission, Joint Stock Company “Serbian Railways” also enabled access and use of rail infrastructure to other business entities interested in carrying out railway transport services that fulfil necessary preconditions, wherewith the effective competition on the relevant market of rail infrastructure management is established.

The Commission uses this opportunity as well to underline the importance of available set of legal instruments at the disposal that enable the Commission to implement effective protection of competition and to obligate undertakings to bring into accord their behaviors against the market economy principles in order to achieve economic prosperity and well-being of the society, and especially the benefit of consumers.