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Saturday 17.03.2018 | Name days: Ģertrūde, Gerda, Gertrūde

EC develops stricter requirements for EU competition institutions

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe European Commission invites member states to provide competition institutions with resources, independence and effective authority, as BNN was informed by Competition Council.

EC has developed a proposal for a new directive that will set stricter requirements, stating that European member states have to allocate the necessary financial, human and technical resources to competition institutions regardless of external, including political, influence.

This directive also provides for clarifications regarding national competition institutions’ authority, so that they can effectively apply competition rights.

«There are big differences among European member states when it comes to competition institutions – in regards to independent status, funding, wages, investigation authority and use of sanctions. To help competition institutions perform investigations and prevent violations, they need to have sufficient resources – the right and opportunity to acquire proof, investigate cases and perform procurement of equipment and attraction of specialists,» CC explains.

No less important is the effective application of competition rights and having a preventive punishments and decisions system.

CC welcomes and supports EC’s initiative because the institution has long since been in favour of the need to improve its independence, especially considering that all of Latvia’s national economic sectors are within its competence.

In addition, higher requirements to the independent status of competition institutions comes from the way decision are made – CC makes its decisions after discussing them with a three-man council.

«CC has also mentioned on multiple occasions the high employee turnover and capacity risks caused by non-competitive wages, when compared with the private sector and other supervisory institutions,» the council notes.

As one of the possible solutions, CC has proposed exiting civil service status and unified remuneration system, which would provide the institution with more autonomy when setting wages and bring it closer to institutions like the Public Utilities Commission or Finance and Capital Market Commission.

CC chairperson Skaidrite Abrama: «In 2016 we calculated that every euro spent on the needs of the Competition Council in the past three years provided society with benefits worth fifty two euros. This is a significant sum, which demonstrates the importance of the institution’s work for the good of society. The proposal of this directive is much needed for us as a national competition institution – it will help resolve problems that have remained unchecked for years on the level of executive power and legislative power».

CC notes that strengthening the council’s independence have also been mentioned by international organizations. In 2015, OECD, reviewing Latvia’s readiness to join the organization, declared CC as a professional institution that assists with introduction of competition policy. OECD invited Latvia to strengthen the institution’s independence and ensure better financial and administrative autonomy.

In addition to the aspect of independence, this directive also provides sufficient authority for competition institutions in terms of prevention of violations. At the same time, this directive also provides rules that will prevent businesses from avoiding fines by performing internal restructuring.


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