Debata Novi SadThe Commission for Protection of Competition, marking the annual Serbian Competition Day, organized the International Conference titled “Forward Agenda for Competition Policy”.

The event was opened by keynote addresses given by Siniša Mali, Minister of Finance, Snežana B. Petrović, President of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, and Dr Miloje Obradović, host of the Conference and President of the Commission for Protection of Competition.

In addition to Branko Ružić, Minister of State Administration and Local-Self Government, the ceremony marking the national Competition Day was also attended by senior representatives of all independent bodies and other state authorities of the Republic of Serbia, as well as a number of representatives of the diplomatic corps, academia and professional community, and undertakings operating on the market of the Republic of Serbia.

The team of the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia, as well as all conference participants were also welcomed in a special video message from Margarethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition. She underscored that all competition authorities share an important privilege: that their work is essential for their citizens.

- If we are successful in our job of bringing about effective competition on the market, our citizens will have a better life. As competition authorities, we can only fulfill our role when we are ready to involve all key stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, national courts, businesses, so that they can better understand what we do and why we do it, said Vestager.

The Commissioner also underlined that the European Commission, and in particular DG COMP, will continue to constantly work with governments and competition authorities in the region, also to prepare for EU membership, and that good initiatives are those that bring together all regional actors in an inclusive format.

The fact that the Serbian Commission was identified by the European Commission, but also EU Parliament, as one of the most efficient independent authorities was commented on by President Obradović, arguing that the teamwork values fostered in the CPC are the key to success, in addition to good relations established with all national institutions and the support received from the state.

- We, at the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia, do not perceive our institutional independence as a privilege enabling us not to communicate and co-operate with all those who can prove to be our valuable partners in an important task of improving the competition policy in our country – emphasized President Obradović, adding that the Commission’s team is aware that in its work must, foremost, ensure the legality and public interest.

Two panel sessions, “Regional Undertakings and Competition Policy” and “Commitment Decisions and Deterrence of Antitrust Infringements”, are held during the conference.

During the first panel session titled “Regional Undertakings and Competition Policy”, moderated by Nicholas Banašević from DG COMP, the heads of regional competition authorities have touched upon the experiences and challenges faced in their efforts to ensure fair business conditions on the national markets. The panelists were the heads of national competition authorities of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, North Macedonia, BiH, Montenegro, and Albania. Moreover, the event served as a platform for all heads of national competition authorities from the Western Balkan region to meet for the first time in one place and discuss issues of common concern.

Gianluca Sepe from the Italian Competition Authority moderated the second panel titled “Commitment Decisions and Deterrence of Antitrust Infringements”, and joined in the discussion with other panelists on challenges relating to new antitrust tools. The panelists were Natalie Harsdorf, Deputy Managing Director of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority, Cosmin Belacurencu, member of the Romanian Competition Council, Alessandra Tonazzi, Director of International and European Affairs at the Italian Competition Authority, and Ebru Ince, Department of External Relations, Training and Competition Advocacy of the Turkish Competition Authority.

The Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Serbia organized this event in co-operation with the Italian Competition Authority under the EU-funded Twinning project “Further Development of Protection of Competition in Serbia”.