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Commission Selected for Honorable Mention by the International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group

kzk-ekofCommission for Protection of Competition is this year’s Honorable Mention recipient to the 2016-2017 Competition Advocacy Contest – Elevating Competition Policies in Economic Policy Agendas: “Innovative Advocacy Strategies to Address Market Challenges”, launched by the International Competition Network (ICN) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

Submitted story, written by Ms. Gordana Bulatović, Chief of Staff to the Office of the Commission President and Coordinator of International Cooperation of the Commission, was entered into one of categories presented – “Implementing advocacy strategies at multiple levels (regional, national, subnational, economic wide and sector specific)”.

The Commission’s story presented with this prestige award, relates to implementing competition advocacy with the state authorities, where objective of the Commission activities is directed towards amending legal provisions favoring public enterprises and limiting other undertakings’ access to utility services market.

The selection panel emphasized that the awarded story undoubtedly showcased the important role that competition authority can play in promoting competitive neutrality vis-à-vis all market participants.

The recognition is awarded by the Advocacy Contest selection panel, comprising of reputable experts for competition issues of the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Competition Network (ICN). The award ceremony will take place during the ICN Annual Conference in Portugal, on May 11. The Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia is one of more than 140 members of the International Competition Network (ICN).

This already traditional annual contest aims to highlight the key role competition agencies play in promoting competition by showcasing their advocacy success stories.

The list of all awarded stories per categories is available on the World Bank Group website—2017-competition-advocacy-contest#4

Commission Conditionally Approved Implementation of Concentration between Serbia Broadband – Srpske kablovske mreže LLC and Interaktivne kablovske objedinjene mreže – I.KOM LLC

kzk-ekofCommission for Protection of Competition conditionally approved implementation of concentration created by acquisition of control on the part of Serbia Broadband – Srpske kablovske mreže LLC over Interaktivne kablovske objedinjene mreže – I.KOM LLC.

Based on the established facts, the Commission Decision recognized that the straightening of dominant position on the part of SBB company will occur only on the retail market of media content distribution services. For that reason, implementation of this concentration is approved, subject to the determined conditions.

SBB company will conduct a disinvestment within the set deadline, that is, sell parallel secondary network infrastructure on the territory of the City of Belgrade, where exist horizontal overlaps between related concentration parties.

The decision also sets conditions relating to the mandatory regular reporting on potential changes in retail prices of media content services provided via SBB basic package, as well as on the causes and intensity of related changes, in the duration of two years effective from the validity day of the decision.

SBB company is also ordered to offer current IKOM company service users the alternative possibilities when concluding new contracts, as per their choice, namely: Contract for an indefinite period offered by SBB to current or potential new users in line with the valid regular terms and conditions, or Contract for a fixed term offered to current or potential new users in line with the valid promotional terms and conditions.

During investigation proceeding, the Commission collected all necessary data, information and opinions on the concentration effects from competing parties to the concentration participants, in addition to the emitters and independent regulatory authorities competent for data considered relevant to this proceeding.

18th International Conference on Competition in Berlin

kzk-ekofFrom March 15-17, the German competition authority Bundeskartellamt organized its 18th International Conference on Competition in Berlin, a traditional biennially held event that is one of the most renowned events on competition policy.

The topic of this year’s conference related to various aspects and challenges in competition policy implementation deriving from market digitalization and globalization. The keynote speakers opening the conference were Mr. Andreas Mundt (see the picture), President of Bundeskartellamt, Ms. Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, and Dr Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post JSC. The conference was attended by numerous international competition authorities’ senior representatives, EU courts judges, anti-trust jurists, professors, politicians, international companies’ representatives, etc. Ms. Gordana Lukić (see the picture), Special Advisor, represented the Serbian Commission on the occasion.

The conference also presented an opportunity to discuss on the possibilities and directions for further development of current successful cooperation between the Commission and Bundeskartellamt.

Several panels were held during the conference covering the topics: Size or competition – What drives innovation and investment?; Platforms, networks, big data – Do competition authorities get it right?; Economic theory – Ready for the digital world?, and Modern cartel enforcement – Yesterday’s success stories – tomorrow’s failures?. The Commission representative also participated in the workshop foremost dedicated to the young competition authorities, covering issues of the successful advocacy program strategies, as well as priorities, aims and procedures relating to market analysis and sector inquiries.

New Know-Hows from the Workshop on Market Inquiries Selection of Sectors

kzk-ekofWorkshop on market studies selection and prioritization of sectors and industries, organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in their Paris headquarters, presented an opportunity for the Commission for Protection of Competition to enhance its know-hows from the area.

The objective of this one-day workshop was to support competition authorities when opting for industry sectors and markets for performing analysis, particularly in cases when no clear indications on market disturbances or competition infringement cases exist.

The workshop encompassed numerous issues relating to various sector inquiries’ objectives and their influence on the selection and prioritization of sectors for sector inquiries, role of strategic factors, including public opinion when selecting and prioritizing sectors, in addition to quantitative and qualitative techniques used when selecting sectors and determining scopes of the studies.

In addition to participation of competition authority representatives from France, Spain and Great Britain, the European Commission representatives also presented their sector inquiries related experiences during the workshop. Ms. Jelena Popović – Markopulos, Department for Sector Inquiries, represented the Commission for Protection of Competition on the occasion.

Commission at the RCC Seminar in Budapest

kzk-ekofSeminar on Market Definition, held in Budapest, Hungary, organized by the Regional Center for Competition (RCC), as a joint venture between the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH), presented an additional opportunity for professional education of the Commission for Protection of Competition representatives.

The event was dedicated to defining the relevant market, considered as a mandatory phase in nearly all competition proceedings, particularly in concentration control related proceedings. Seminar participants were panelists of the Regional Center for Competition, European Commission, French Competition Administration (Autorité de la concurrence), American Federal Trade Commission and Hungarian Competition Authority, in addition to representatives of participating national competition authorities. Case studies of particular participating countries were presented during the seminar, as well as theoretical cases addressed by working in small groups.

The Commission for Protection of Competition was represented by Ivana Rakić, Department for Investigation of Concentration, and Aleksandra Ravić, Department for Economic Inquiries. Ms. Rakić represented the CPC case study in regards defining the relevant product market in outdoor advertising.

Commission Approved Implementation of Concentration on the part of Company Agrana Beteiligungs over Company Sunoko Ltd.

kzk-ekofOn March 3, 2017, President of the Commission for Protection of Competition enacted a decision on approving implementation of concentration in summary procedure, created by acquiring control on the part of company Agrana Beteiligungs – Aktiengesellschaft – Vienna, Austria, over company Sunoko Ltd., with registered seat in Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia.

Pursuant to the established facts determined during the proceeding, the Commission recognized that by implementing related concentration, no significant structural alterations will occur on the sugar beet production, buy up and processing market, and beet sugar production and wholesale market in the Republic of Serbia.

Agrana Beteiligungs company is present on the market of the Republic of Serbia solely in the sugar wholesale market segment, but only by selling extremely small quantities. On the other relevant markets – sugar beets production, buy up and processing market, and beet sugar production market in the Republic of Serbia, Agrana Beteiligungs company is not present.

The Commission emphasizes that by means of the Decision dated August 11, 2016, Sunoko – Star šećer concentration is conditionally approved, subject to the implementation of certain measures. The aforementioned Decision imposes conditions in the form of behavioral measures and mandatory regular reporting the Commission, aimed at securing market structure and preserving all production capacities, including the sugar refinery TE TO Senta on the market, transparent monitoring of sugar levels and market fluctuations in sugar prices, improving transparency of sugar sale policy and business relations with the buyers, as well as full disclosure of information before the Commission on the level and type of investments to be implemented in the TE TO Senta company aimed at increasing production efficiency.

The listed conditions are still effective.

Visit to the Austrian Federal Competition Authority

kzk-ekofRepresentatives of the Commission for Protection of Competition – Marina Joksimović, Senior Advisor in the Department for Competition Infringement, Miroslava Đošić, Senior Advisor in the Department for Legal Affairs and Jelena Grahovac, Senior Advisor in the Department for Economic Inquiries, concluded the two day official visit to the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (Die Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde, BWB).

The visit is organized based on the arrangement for cooperation of previous bilateral meeting held between the Commission President, Miloje Obradović, PhD, and Director General of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority, Theodor Thanner, PhD, with the goal of implementing training courses in the field of conducting dawn raids.
During the visit, series of meetings were organized with the Austrian Federal Competition Authority representatives, exchanging experiences in the domain of conducting dawn raids as one of the most important “tools” for gathering evidence in the cartel detecting cases.

In addition to discussing legal issues from the field of conducting investigations, the focus was placed on experiences arising from the leniency program related implementation, forensic tools used in the fieldwork and when presenting evidence for the courts, as well as current topics from the sector inquiries implementation area in which Austrian and Serbian competition authorities are currently involved.

The visit is evaluated as an exceptional form of bilateral cooperation between institutions and very useful for targeted improvement of professional skills of employees working in the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia.
The Serbian Commission delegation was met by the Director General, Deputy Head and representatives from investigation, forensic and economy sectors.

EPS Electricity Bills Analysis Finalized

kzk-ekofIn the previous period, and specifically as on January 22, 2017, the Commission for Protection of Competition has intensively conducted an analysis of all claims occurring in the public, relating to the alleged systematic errors arising when calculating the consumed electricity balance for December 2016.

Following the analysis of all claims at the Commission’s disposal, including the “Electric Power Industry of Serbia” statement on the results of conducted internal control, it is concluded that in this case cannot be reasonably assumed that the abuse of dominance has occurred, and thus exist no grounds for instituting procedure ex officio for determining infringement of competition.

The Commission emphasizes that when analyzing all claims of systematic errors arising when calculating the consumed electricity balance of households in December 2016, has established a full cooperation with the competent “Electric Power Industry of Serbia” representatives.

Commission Representatives at the RSPP and PERFORM Project Conference

kzk-ekofRepresentatives of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Marko Obradović, Commission Council member, and Jelena Grahovac, Senior Advisor in the Department for Economic Inquiries, have participated at the conference “Experiences from the evidence-based policymaking”.

The conference is organized by the Republic Secretariat for Public Policies in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and PERFORM Project, implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooparation SRB Representative Office.

This conference addressed the necessity of systematic alternations crucial for establishing the evidence-based policymaking systems, in addition to experiences and challenges arising from implementing researches in four pilot projects. The four pilot project’s beneficiaries are: Commission for Protection of Competition, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Youth and Sport and Ministry of Culture and the Media.

Commission representative, Jelena Grahovac, presented experiences related to project implementation “Aftermarkets Sector Inquiries” and utilization of gained knowledge. The presentation also addressed the key project lessons-learned, and policymaking-related research benefits to social sciences, research institutes and state authorities as the research beneficiaries.

In the closing address, all project partners have emphasized the high quality of established cooperation during all project implementation phases, a pleasure from taking part in the project, and the need to continue with the implementation of such and similar projects that would be aimed at supporting decision-makers in making informed and analysis-based decisions in solving issues.

Competition Day 2017