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COMPETITION LAW EXPERTS MET IN RIGA AT BALTIC COMPETITION CONFERENCE

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On 14 and 15 November the 18th Baltic Competition Conference was held and this time it was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Competition Council of Latvia. In the conference special attention was paid to involvement of public administrative bodies – state and local governments – in business, as well as challenges of competition law of today, related to development of the digital market and the latest case law in competition law.

The Chairman of the Competition Council of Latvia Juris Gaiķis introduced the audience with work results of the institution. Also, conference participants were introduced with the latest public opinion survey data on competition enforcement in Latvia and challenges currently faced in Latvia, including consequences of COVID-19, inflation caused by the war, energy crisis, development of the digital market, etc.

The Chairman of the CC Juris Gaiķis: “We are pleased that we could celebrate the anniversary of the institution together with our colleagues from Lithuania and Estonia, international experts and competition law experts of national level, in order to discuss the current competition issues and seek a common approach to solving them. The conference enables the competition supervisors of the Baltic States to collect the best practice and take over the most successful solutions in the future, especially in the supervision of public administrative bodies, to whom special attention was paid during the conference of this year”.

Considering the constant development of digital markets, the Digital Markets Act entered into force in Europe on 1 November, the purpose of which was to make the digital sector more fair and competitive, determining clear conditions with regard to big online platforms and their cooperation with customers and consumers.  Xandra Reintjes, the representative of the European Commission had a speech during the conference with a presentation on the new Digital Markets Act and further cooperation of the national competition authorities with the European Commission on the supervision of digital platforms.

While Laila Mediņa, the first representative of Latvia in the European Court of Justice, holding the office of the Advocate General at the Court since 2021, presented the latest case law in competition law during the conference.

Also, a special attention was paid to involvement of public administrative bodies in business during the event. Federica Maiorano, senior expert of the Competition Division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), gave a presentation on the Competitive Neutrality Recommendations approved by the OECD, which invites countries to ensure compliance with the principles of neutrality, thus not unreasonably delaying, limiting or distorting competition in the market. Šarūnas Keserauskas, Chairman of the Lithuanian competition authority, participated in one of the discussions on competition enforcement topicalities in the Baltics.

Organisation of the regional competition conference of the Baltic States once per three years is entrusted to each of the three Baltic States. The event takes place both in the format of general discussions and in separate working groups of experts on mergers, prohibited agreements, abuse of dominant position, digital markets and other topics.