KONKURENCIJOS TARYBA HOSTED TRADITIONAL MEETING OF HEADS OF BALTIC COMPETITION AUTHORITIES IN VILNIUS
On October 6, heads of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian competition authorities met in Vilnius to discuss current competition law issues, including the review of business transactions covering all three Baltic states, as well as possible joint activities in the context of rising energy and other commodities prices caused by Russia‘s war in Ukraine.
The Baltic competition authorities often deal with similar issues of legal and economic assessment. During the traditional meeting, heads of three institutions shared experience and discussed how to foster mutual cooperation in investigations into competition law infringements, exchange experience collected while analysing and assessing mergers affecting the markets of all three countries, also while solving other relevant problems.
One of the examples of business transactions discussed during the meeting was the merger reviewed by the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian competition authorities this year. By this merger the Latvian company Dobeles dzirnavnieks intended to acquire 100 per cent of the shares of the Lithuanian firm Baltic Mill which manages the firm Malsena plius. After Konkurencijos taryba had identified the merger’s negative effects on competition in Lithuania and did not issue clearance, Dobeles dzirnavnieks could not implement the merger in Lithuania. The company had previously received clearances from the Latvian and Estonian competition authorities to implement the merger in these countries.
It is likely that cross-border transactions will happen also in the future, despite the ongoing uncertainty about the economic situation and rising energy prices, which national competition authorities have limited abilities to influence. However, they can recommend the countries’ governments and parliaments to refrain from adopting draft legal acts if these acts might restrict competition in certain markets and harm consumers, said representatives of the Lithuanian Konkurencijos taryba.
Besides, the meeting participants reviewed a parallel monitoring of online marketplaces conducted by the Lithuanian and Latvian competition authorities. The aim of the monitoring of online marketplaces is to find out whether businesses encounter any possible restrictions of competition in online marketplaces and to identify common problems that are relevant for companies operating in both Baltic states.
Heads of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian competition authorities also agreed to continue exchanging information and experience, as well as to undertake joint initiatives and activities in the future.