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Amendment to the Act on Protection of Competition at the interministry comment procedure

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On December 13, 2013 the amendment to the Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition was submitted for the interministry comment procedure. Amendment responds to the need for legislative changes in certain areas coming out from the application praxis and it introduces new elements aimed at higher efficiency of competition rules application.

The most important proposed changes refer to the area of merger assessment which should contribute to higher efficiency and speed of the administrative proceedings to the benefit of merger parties, it means undertakings. Amendment also adjusts the system of time periods in favour of merging parties. With the aim to simplify the notification the Office intends to introduce the notification at the prepared forms. Proposed changes refer also to the area of agreements restricting competition and prohibition to abuse a dominant position. Based on experiences of the application praxis also the provisions on commitments and leniency programme were adjusted with the aim the increase the legal certainty of undertakings. Draft of the amendment deals also with the level of protection of leniency applicant in the case of action damages in order to reduce the concerns of potential leniency applicants and to increase their motivation, thus also the number of revealed cartels which belong to the most serious violations of the act with the negative impact both on competition and consumer. Next innovation of the amendment is the settlement as the alternative way of finishing the proceedings in all matters of competition violations. Settlement is applicable only if the party to the proceedings admits its participation in violation and assumes responsibility for it. The amendment introduces a brand-new segment of financial reward for citizens who submit the cartel evidence. Cartel participants use increasingly sophisticated methods to conceal their activities since these agreements yield significant profits. Therefore cartel revealing is especially difficult. The Office intends to motivate those who submit the cartel evidence by the financial reward in the amount of 1% from the imposed fine for cartel (at maximum EUR 100 000) with the aim to receive significant information and evidence. 
Amendment to the Act is part of the overall strategy of the Office, in which the main objective is to build a modern competition authority with the consumer in the limelight.

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