HEADS OF BALTIC COMPETITION AUTHORITIES DISCUSSED JOINT PROJECTS, POSSIBLE MARKET ANALYSIS AND STUDIES
On September 10, the management of the Baltic competition authorities met in Riga to discuss current competition law issues in the Baltic States and discuss cooperation, joint projects, possible market analysis and studies.
One of the meeting goals was to share experience on changes in national regulations related to each country's obligation to adopt into national laws the ECN+ Directive adopted both by the European Parliament and the Council. The ECN+ Directive requires national competition authorities to be provided with the necessary powers, guarantees of independence, and resources to prevent infringements of competition law. Also, Baltic competition authorities exchanged experience in transposing into national regulation the European Union (EU) Directive, which provides EU farmers and agri-food businesses with protection against unfair trading practices.
On the agendas of competition supervisors of all three Baltic States, issues with cross-border implications are becoming more frequent. Thus, the meeting participants discussed current market trends, infringement cases and market studies, as well as mergers that affect the entire Baltic market.
Juris Gaiķis, the Chairman of the Latvian Competition Council said: “The Baltic competition authorities often face similar competition law challenges, that can be effectively addressed through active cooperation between all three countries. So far, we have regularly exchanged information with our neighbours and have also cooperated in joint investigation and training, so this meeting in Riga, both with the experience exchange of experts and discussions on jointly planned activities in the future, is another step towards a more harmonized competition environment in the Baltics”.
Šarūnas Keserauskas, Chairman of the Lithuanian competition authority, also supported strengthening of cooperation between the Baltic competition authorities, which is especially relevant due to increasing digitalisation across the markets. He added that Baltic competition authorities, as relatively small agencies, would gain a lot from combining their efforts and trying to find the most effective way of dealing with digital issues.
Märt Ots, the Director General of the Estonian competition authority strongly agreed that as we see further integration of Baltic markets in terms of the one of the core principles of the EU – free movement of goods and services, it is of great importance to strengthen cooperation between competition authorities.
The meeting participants also discussed possible further closer co-operation of competition authorities in various topical markets, including digital markets, as well as joint research.