Capacity building and eu cooperation with third countries in the field of competition policy
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Capacity building and EU cooperation with third countries in the field of competition policy. Sam Pieters International Relations Unit DG COMP 12/11/2012 Sofia Competition Forum. Capacity Building and International Cooperation between competition agencies.

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Capacity building and EU cooperation with third countries in the field of competition policy

Sam Pieters

International Relations Unit

DG COMP

12/11/2012

Sofia Competition Forum


Capacity Building and International Cooperation between competition agencies

  • Global economy – companies operate across borders, while jurisdictions are national/regional

  • Proliferation of competition regimes around the world – more than 100 jurisdictions today

  • Benefits of international co-operation and capacity building:

    • efficiency gains in parallel investigations + cutting red tape

    • working for convergence of competition policy

    • creating a more level playing field

    • Not only sound principles but also effective enforcement capacity (operationally independent authority, resources, powers, skilled staff, …)


What is the EU’s policy response?

  • European Competition Network: managing the parallel application of the EU Competition rules by National Competition Authorities and the European Commission.

  • EU Enlargement: supporting the introduction and implementation of competition policy in view of EU accession (Croatia to become new EU Member State on 1/7/2013; other candidate countries include Serbia, Montenegro).

  • Bilateral competition specific cooperation: with competition authorities of main trading partners and EU Neighbourhood policies (FTAs, MoUs,…).

  • Multilateral co-operation: working in international fora (ICN, OECD, UNCTAD,...)


EU Technical Assistance in the field of Competition Policy

  • Catalogue of Instruments under EU’s Assistance programmes:

    • Demand driven

    • Conferences, workshops, seminars etc.

    • Study tours to European Competition Authorities /Courts

    • Hire experts to

      • Assist in drafting rules, regulations, guidelines and manuals

      • Advice on the setting up of a competition authority/procedures

      • Provide staff training

      • Make academic studies

      • Competition Advocacy

    • Internships with European Competition Authorities

  • DG Competition direct involvement (a resource in very scarce supply):

    • DG Competition officials participation in workshops etc.

    • DG Competition hosting smaller technical meetings etc.

    • Internships in DG Competition

    • Advice on; drafting rules, design of authorities, selection of experts, content of trainings.


EU Technical Assistance Western Balkans: some examples

  • Stabilisation and Association agreements; Pre-accession assistance for Western Balkan (IPA): EUR 11.5 billion for 2007-2013;

  • TAIEX Programme(cooperation with DG Enlargement):

  • -Albania: Study visit on state aid organized by French Autorité de la Concurrence (May 2011)

  • -Bosnia and Herzegovina: Study visit on Merger control to UK OFT (April 2011)

  • -Croatia: Twinning project with EC on implementing Croatian Competition and State aid Policies

  • Bilateral events DG Competition:

  • -Serbia: State aid seminar organized by DG Competition(January 2012)

    -Albania: Study visit experts to DG Competition on wide range of competition related issues (2012)


Lessons learnt

  • A successful technical assistance program requires active collaboration between the recipient, the donor, and the provider of the assistance

  • An effective technical assistance program requires a clear assessment of the needs of the new competition agency and the environment within which it will operate

  • The content of a technical assistance project should be clearly linked to the goals and objectives of the program and the advisors of a high quality

  • The content of the technical assistance program should evolve in line with the absorption capacity of the agency

  • Providers of technical assistance should be knowledgeable and experienced in the application of competition law


Conclusions

  • Competition policy is a vital part of global economic governance

  • Divergences of law and policy remain significant

  • Mechanisms of co-operation need improvement

  • Best practices must spread around the globe

  • Competition agencies must co-operate

  • Dilemma for DG Competition: We are happy to assist – to the extent resources permit


Thank you for your attention!


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