11 Nov 2013

Competition in focus

With European integration a primary goal for Serbia, law firm Karanovic & Nikolic has launched a book on competition law.

New competition book launched

Regional law Firm Karanovic & Nikoli hosted a panel of competition experts at the 7th Annual Focus on Competition Conference in Belgrade, which was organised on the occasion of the launch of the 2013 edition of the Karanovic & Nikoli publication Focus on Competition. Panellists included Dag Johansson, Policy Co-ordinator with the European Commission – DG Competition, Ian Forrester, a partner at  White & Case LLP in Brussels, Gordana Luki, a Council Member with the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Lemberger, Head of the sector for the assessment of concentrations at the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia and Karanovic & Nikoli regional competition practice head Rastko Petakovi.

European integration

With European integration a primary goal of Serbia and the countries of the Balkans, competition law and policy are more than ever a point of legislative focus. Many examples and case studies were provided on the panel showing the development of the commission in Brussels and how they have evolved into the body that they are today. Dag Johansson provided insight into international cooperation and information exchange between the competition authorities and the perspective of the EU on the importance of these topics. He outlined the main objectives of international cooperation how it is used as a tool for avoiding diverging outcomes, the necessity to minimize non-competition related assessment criteria across jurisdictions, the importance of developing inter-agency cooperation for increased effectiveness of multilateral cooperation and discussed the strengthening of competition regimes in EU enlargement countries, such as the Balkans, which is a top priority for DG Competition.

Recent policy developments

Ian Forrester discussed the history of the development of the Brussels commission and overviewed recent policy developments, including the refined leniency program, which now allows all leniency applicants applying to the Commission in cases concerning 3 or more member states to submit a summary application to NCAs. Forrester says that the purpose of the ECN Model Leniency Programme is to ensure that potential leniency applicants are not discouraged from applying as a result of the discrepancies between existing leniency programmes within the ECN.

The ECN Model Programme therefore sets out the treatment which an applicant can anticipate in any ECN jurisdiction once alignment of all programmes has taken place and should alleviate the burden associated with multiple filings in cases for which the Commission is particularly well placed by introducing a model for a uniform summary application system.

Gordana Luki of the Competition Authority of the Republic of Serbia provided an analysis of the new amendments to the Law on Protection of Competition, entered into force on 8 November 2013.  She pointed out the importance of the adopted amendments and the way in which the approved changes affect the application of competition rules and their positive impact on the Serbian market.

Economic views

Boris Lemberger discussed the importance of the economy and the economic approach the commission has taken in the implementation of competition and the application of competition rules. He was pleased to recognise the importance of economics in competition law and stressed that it is necessary to continue in this direction in order to continue to improve competition in Serbia.

Karanovic & Nikolic is a leading corporate law firm operating in the Balkan region. With offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and with over 90 lawyers, the Firm offers unrivalled regional and sector specific coverage for both foreign and domestic investors. Contact: Jennifer.grubac@karanovic-nikolic.com

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