Overnight, our UK colleagues’ participation in the ICN has become more focused and efficient – the UK OFT and UK CC have merged and we welcome the UK Competition and Markets Authority as an ICN member. Thank you to the OFT and CC for their many valuable contributions to the ICN over the years, and best of luck to the CMA as it starts its work!
The third European Competition Forum was held in Brussels on February 11. Information and materials are available here.
The World Bank Group Investment Climate Global Practice recently announced the winners of its 2013 Competition Advocacy Contest. Click to see the selected wining stories of successful advocacy initiatives from competition authorities in developing and emerging markets. Congratulations to all of the winners and congratulations to the World Bank for a successful contest increasing awareness of competition advocacy!
In December, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic launched its new website.
- its approach to using some key legal powers, including tough new measures to impose financial penalties on firms that do not comply with competition investigations or with interim measures imposed in merger cases.
- its Vision, Values and Strategy.
The CMA takes on its full functions from April 1. Good luck to the CMA!
SCA Press Release – City Court rules that there are no formal obstacles to charging Swedavia for competition damages
The Swedish Competition Authority may bring an action before the court to sue for competition damages even where the behaviour that forms the basis of the claim has already been forbidden by the Market Court. This is the result of the Stockholm City Court’s decision not to approve Swedavia’s petition for the dismissal of a case concerning fees for signs that pre-ordered taxis use for customers at Arlanda Airport.
After the Market Court found that Swedavia had abused its dominant position and therefore ordered the company to cease charging pre-order fees or be faced with a fine, the Swedish Competition Authority has sued Swedavia and demanded that the company should pay SEK 340,000 in competition damages for this behaviour during the period leading up to the Market Court’s decision. Swedavia replied by petitioning for the action to be dismissed and claimed that it was in contravention of the prohibition on double sentencing and punishment (”ne bis in idem”).
In its decision, the City Court has concluded that the previous court case in the Market Court was not of a criminal law character. The prohibition on double sentencing and punishment is therefore not an obstacle to now trying the claim for competition damages.
“It is important to ensure that companies who abuse their dominant position can always be held accountable and be charged with competition damages in the manner prescribed by the Competition Act. It is good for the consumers that dominant companies, when drawing up strategies, take into consideration the special responsibility that the competition regulations entail for them. In the case in question Swedavia has charged unreasonable fees that have increased the cost of taxi rides for the consumers,” Competition Authority Director-General Dan Sjöblom comments.
Swedavia has one week to file a notice of appeal against the City Court’s decision.
22 April 2014, Marrakech, Morocco (more details on the venue and programme coming soon)
The 21st St.Gallen International Competition Law Forum ICF will be held on May 15th and 16th 2014. Once more, it will feature a thrilling selection of hot topics in current competition law issues and some of the most distinguished speakers in the field, including Joaquín Almunia (Vice-President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Competition), Nicholas J. Forwood (Judge, General Court EU) and Ingeborg Simonsson (Judge, Stockholm City Court). Taking place in one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities, the St.Gallen ICF gives you the opportunity to meet, discuss and mingle with fellow competition lawyers and leading competition law experts from all over the world. Further information including a detailed programme are available on the conference website:http://www.sg-icf.ch/.
Topics: Current issues and developments in competition law
Date: May 15th and 16th 2014
Location: St.Gallen, Switzerland
Registration: Registration is now open on our website (http://www.sg-icf.ch/conference-registration/)
The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC (Spain´s National Authority for Competition and Markets) began operations in 2013, creating a new authority in charge of both competition and regulatory matters. The new authority merged the competition authority, the CNC, with several sector regulators responsible for Telecom, Energy, Railway, Postal, Audiovisual, and Airport Tariffs. It has simultaneous functions: enforcing competition rules, competition and better regulation advocacy, and regulating economic sectors. The CNMC was created to guarantee, preserve, and promote the correct operation, transparency, and effective competition in all Spain’s productive sectors and markets.
The CNMC enjoys complete institutional and functional independence in exercising its authority. It has separate legal personality and full public and private capacity.
For more information, see ‘about us’ (in Spanish) on the CNMC’s website. An English language version of the site will be available soon.
Be sure to read this month’s ICN column in Competition Policy International by Alessandra Tonazzi and Michele Pacillo from the Italian Competition Authority on the ICN’s advocacy workshop held last month in Rome.