LITHUANIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY MAINTAINS STABLE POSITION IN RANKING OF WORLD’S COMPETITION AUTHORITIES
The antitrust and competition law journal and news service Global Competition Review conducted an annual ranking of the world‘s competition authorities and gave the Lithuanian competition authority three stars of five for seven years in a row. Competition authorities from Belgium, Latvia, Norway, Netherlands and other countries were ranked in the same position.
The Global Competition Review noted that despite its relatively limited human and financial resources, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, last year Konkurencijos taryba examined more mergers (taking into account 24 merger clearances in 2020, in comparison to 22 in 2019), carried out more inspections as part of its investigations into possible infringements of competition law.
Foreign experts welcomed the changes related to the transposition of the provisions of the so-called ECN+ Directive aimed at ensuring that national competition authorities have the necessary guarantees of independence, resources, as well as enforcement and fining powers. The new rules aim to improve cooperation with other institutions in overlapping investigations and grant more powers to Konkurencijos taryba to impose stricter fines for repeated competition law infringements. The authority also published updated rules on leniency program, guidelines on dawn raids, cooperation with EU competition or other competent authorities, and explanations concerning the establishment of a dominant position.
The Global Competition Review also interviewed Lithuanian competition law practitioners as part of their assessment. They complimented the authority on its institutional independence, competition advocacy efforts and successes before the courts. Besides, local competition law experts expressed their opinion that the authority could improve its performance by speeding up the examination of merger notifications.
In 2020 Konkurencijos taryba identified 3 infringements of the Law on Competition, fined 1 retailer for unfair commercial practices to food and drink suppliers, imposing Eur 933,720 in fines on companies and public entities, examined 482 draft legal acts and notified to the European Commission 42 state aid schemes.