The Amendments to the Act on Protection of Competition enters into force

01.07.2014
The Amendments to Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition enters into force on 1 July 2014. The amendment is part of the Antimonopoly Office’s (AMO) overall strategy, the main target of which is to build a modern competition authority that brings clear benefit to consumers.  The changes will help solve problems arising from the practice as well as legally confirm changes in recent approach towards the assessment of competition cases and enhance the effectiveness of competition rules. All areas of the Slovak competition law have been adjusted: merger control, agreements restricting competition as well as prohibition of abuse of dominant position. The most significant changes have been described on http://www.antimon.gov.sk/amendment-to-the-act-on-protection-of-competition-at-the-interministry-comment-procedure/.

Five decrees: on merger control, leniency programme, settlement and De Minimis, and remuneration of the members of the Council of the Office, which are part of the revised Act entered into force on the same day as the amendment. These documents respond to the changes in the competition act.

Decree Laying Down Details on Thresholds for Determining Whether an Agreement Between Undertakings, Concerted Practice or Decision of Associations of Undertakings Has a Negligible Effect on Competition has been adopted (“De Minimis”). Before, the thresholds were regulated directly in the Act on Protection of Competition.

The AMO revised the Decree on Parculars of a Notification of Concentration with the aim to accelerate and streamline the process of merger control. Following the amendment the notifier will notify a merger in a clear and structured way using specific forms, which are part of the decree. The form will enable the parities to easily assess which information has to be submitted in a merger notification. Based on the AMO´s experience, certain submitted information has been clarified and modified, in particular, in relation to market information, affected markets and potentially affected markets. The aim is to obtain information on the operation of the parties to the merger and related undertakings already during the merger notification in a form and format that will allow the AMO to assess the affected and potentially affected markets.

Decree on Settlement regulates the procedure of the AMO during the settlement discussion as well as the level of fine reduction in case of settlement. Following the amendment to the Act settlement will be applicable to all infringements of the competition act.

Decree on Leniency Programme defines details on application of the leniency programme and the requirements on the content of applications for leniency. Leniency programme allows waiver or reduction of the fine in case of cooperation of an undertaking in cartel detection. It is up to the undertaking to decide whether he wants to profit from the leniency programme. Leniency programme has been applied also before the amendment and the details on its application were in a guideline of the Office. Since the Decree is based on the existing guideline, its adoption did not fundamentally change the current practice of the Office, but it will increase legal certainty.

Decree on the Remuneration of the Members of the Council of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic provides direct method for remuneration of the members of the Council of the Office.