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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Competition protection

In today’s globalising world, effective competition protection has to go beyond national borders. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is very active in its international efforts, cooperating with individual agencies as well as within international forums.

What benefits does this cooperation bring?

  • creation of more effective enforcement of antitrust law,
  • sharing knowledge and experience in the field of competition law,
  • identifying good practices and coordinating international competition policies,
  • assistance to young competition authorities,
  • direct working contacts – possibility to consult experts from different countries on everyday basis.


Cooperation within EU

In order to ensure effective application of the EU competition law the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection actively cooperates with EU institutions, especially the European Commission. The President of the Office represents Poland in the European Competition Network (ECN) established under the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (now Articles 101 and 102 TFEU).

 

European Competition Network

European Competition Network (ECN) has developed into a central pillar of cooperation between the NCAs and the European Commission. ECN has been established as a forum for discussion of European competition authorities in cases where Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are applied, ensuring an efficient division of work and consistent application of EU competition rules. Informing each other of new cases and envisaged enforcement decisions; coordinating investigations, exchanging evidence and other information; discussing various issues of common interest are only some examples of activities of its’ members. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection participates in the review of cross-border competition cases in Advisory Committee’s meetings and is engaged in many projects in the ECN working groups, such as, inter alia, WG Cooperation Issues, WG Banking and Payments, WG Leniency, WG Pharmaceuticals.

The European Commission published on its website the first issue of the ECN Brief – a newsletter containing articles coming from 24 antimonopoly offices of the Member States, as well as the European Commission. The magazine - intended to be published five times a year - is meant to raise transparency of the European Competition Network (ECN). It is addressed to members of the legal and business community, the judiciary, consumer associations and academics as well as any individuals interested in EU antitrust law developments. Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) was actively involved in the initiative of creation of the newsletter and supported it from the very beginning.

The ECN Brief is available in electronic format at: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/ecn/brief/index.html

 

European Competition Authorities

European Competition Authorities (ECA) was founded in Amsterdam in April 2001 as a forum for discussion of the competition authorities in the European Economic Area (EEA) (the Member States of the European Community, the European Commission, the EFTA States Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the EFTA Surveillance Authority). ECA activities focus on providing a framework for the discussion of issues related to the practice of competition law enforcers, sharing knowledge and experience in the field of competition law, facilitating the exchange of information, developing where possible, a common view of the participants towards issues related to the enforcement of competition law and thereby, if appropriate, contribute to discussions in international fora.

In year 2011 the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection is going to hold the annual ECA conference in Warsaw.

 

International Competition Network

International Competition Network (ICN) was set up with the aim of creation more effective enforcement of antitrust law in the context of economic globalization. The Network is also intended to serve as a forum for exchanging information and experiences on best practices, tools and methods of combating competition-restricting agreements between enterprises. As an international organisation, the Network provides comprehensive, global approach to issues of competition, regardless of the differences between the jurisdictions of individual countries. This is extremely important in the context of globalisation and the development of world economy.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection became a member of the ICN in November 2001. The representatives participate in the works of five working groups:

1) Cartels Working Group

The work of the group is divided into two subgroups: General Framework Subgroup and Enforcement Techniques Subgroup. The participants focus their attention on basic elements of detecting, conducting proceedings, and setting fines for cartels, which are the most serious infringements of competition. The aim is to improve the effectiveness of anti-cartel enforcement by identifying and sharing specific investigative techniques.

Anti-cartel enforcement template

2) Merger Working Group

The mission of the ICN Merger Working Group is to promote the adoption of best practices in the design and operation of merger review procedures in order to find the best mechanism, which would facilitate procedural and substantive proceedings, i.e. reduce costs and time of merger review without deteriorate its effectiveness.

3) Unilateral Working Group

The group was established to analyse the challenges and problems encountered by the antitrust authorities in conducting investigations in cases of abuse of dominant position and to find new effective solutions.

4) Advocacy Working Group

The group aims to develop practical tools and guidelines to improve the activities aimed at promoting competition. Also, the team exchanges best practices relating to market analyses.

Report on Assessment of ICN Members’ Requirements and Recommendations on Further ICN Work on Competition Advocacy

Report on Market Studies

Competition Advocacy. Educational Initiatives- Presentation

5) Agency Effectiveness

The work of the Working Group focuses on examining a variety of factors determining the ability of competition agencies to achieve their objectives in an efficient and effective way in a repository manner

Report on the Agency Effectiveness Project

 

Central European Competition Initiative

On 3 April 2003, the representatives of competition protection authorities from five Central European countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland and Hungary signed a declaration on co-operation establishing Central European Competition Initiative (CECI). In 2008 Austria joined CECI as its 6th member.

Its aim is to enhance the exchange of experiences in competition protection between the members and encourage organisation of common initiatives such as conferences and trainings. The first CECI meeting took place on 27 June 2003 in Budapest and was devoted to antitrust proceedings concerning agreements concluded by different professions and codes of conduct signed by them.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has been a host of several seminars within CECI:

 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) associates 30 highly-developed and democratic countries, and its objective is to support activities aimed at achieving the highest possible level of economic development and the inhabitants’ standard of living.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection participates in the Competition Committee. It associates the heads of competition authorities of member states from all over the world. It is the basic source of competition policy analysis and an advisory body for governments. It is responsible for promoting market reforms, including activities aimed at counteracting practices that restrict competition.

During the meetings the Offices’s representatives actively participate in the exchange of experience on antimonopoly proceedings and best solutions aiming at improving the condition of competition on national markets. They also inform the Committee on issues relating to the implementation of competition policy in Poland as well as discuss current changes in the law.

The Committee's actions are supported by experts from other European and international institutions (the European Commission, UNCTAD), as well as by representatives of entrepreneurs and consumers.

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