OECD

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is a unique forum for discussing and formulating economic and social policies of member states; it compares their experience and looks for answers to arising problems, helps co-ordinate their policies both inside the state and on an international field. In general, it deals with all important issues as do the governments in the individual member states with the exception of culture and army issues. On the basis of the Convention the OECD is authorized to conclude agreements with member and non-member states and international organizations and adopt decisions, recommendations and declarations, some of them legally binding, to fulfil its aims. Among the most important instruments of the OECD are:

  • Code of Liberalisation of Current Invisible Operations  and Code of Liberalisation of Capital Movements
  • OECD Declaration and Decisions on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises
  • OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions
  • Instruments of the OECD in the area of the Environment
  • OECD Model Tax Convention
  • OECD Principles of Corporate Governance

A number of recommendations published by the OECD are not obligatory. It is up to the member states how they implement such recommendations. The system of the OECD work supports their application indirectly. Reports, analyses, statistics and discussion led in the OECD are highly appreciated for their proficiency and apolitical character. Therefore, the majority of the OECD recommendations based on the method of recommendation of best practices is fulfilled by the member states’ governments, although the OECD does not have formal instruments for their enforcement (soft law).

The OECD deals with policies of the member states in the individual areas and thus enables efficient exchange of opinions on provisions and politics of the individual country. The OECD recommendations then function as an effective method for peer pressure to fulfil the necessary reforms. The result of implementing such coordinated policies recommended by the OECD is thus a highly homogenous economic area created by the member states. Peer pressure and benchmarking thus form a basic working method of the OECD which stems from the notion of belonging of all members.

The supreme body of the organization is the OECD Council which consists of representatives of all 30 member states and the representative of the European Commission. Its meetings are led by the OECD Secretary General. The Council meets approximately twice a month to solve operative and strategic issues of the organization’s management. Moreover, the OECD Council meets at ministerial level once a year, where the ministers from the member states discuss key issues and set priorities for OECD work. To support the OECD Council’s work several supportive bodies were established (Executive Committee, Budget Committee, Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members, Public Affairs and Communication Directorate). The fundamental part of OECD work is in the special committees. In the OECD there are approximately twenty main committees which together with various groups and subgroups form a network of approximately two hundred working committees of the OECD. Committees and working groups usually meet twice a year and the participants are experts from member states who exchange their experience, coordinate their course of action or create common recommendations. The Office for the Protection of Competition is the Czech Republic’s representative in the Competition Committee and its working subgroups WP2 Competition and Regulation and WP3 Cooperation and Enforcement, where it regularly participates and contributes to topics.

OECD Peer Review of competition law and policy

From November 2007 to May 2008 the Office for the Protection of Competition was undergoing a review of competition law and policy within the OECD voluntary programme PEER REVIEW. This is one of the most prestigious examinations excelling in depth, complexity and objectivity of the reviewed issues.

In the first phase it is necessary to fill in a questionnaire which covers the whole decision-making activity of the Office in last seven years (since the last PEER REVIEW), press releases, organizational and legislative changes together with all available publications and articles dealing with the development of the protection of competition in the Czech Republic. During this first phase (October – December 2007) more than ten experts from the Office participated in  working on PEER REVIEW according to issues necessary to address.

In the second phase, the leader of the whole OECD project Michael Wise, specialist in competition with years of practice in examining competition authorities, visited Brno and during intensive discussions on topics which had to be cleared up, met not only experts from the Office, but also representatives of the sector regulators and attorneys-at-law dealing with competition law. Thereby, Wise was able to assess the protection of competition and implementation of competition policy from “the other side of the barricade”.

During the final phase (April – May 2008) a detailed report was drawn, to which the Office could add its commentaries before the final and most difficult task – public presentation of the PEER REVIEW results at the meeting of the OECD Competition Committee on June 11, 2008. During a three-hour session the Office’s delegation headed by its former Chairman Martin Pecina underwent an evaluation from the side of the OECD Secretariat and two examiners – the representatives of the competition authorities from Mexico and Belgium.

The review was successful beyond expectation – both examiners positively commented on the development in competition policy and competition law enforcement together with the Office’s activity at a national and international level. The final publication of the OECD on the development of competition law and policy in the Czech Republic is thus valuable proof of the fact that the Office for the Protection of Competition is a respected authority among bodies enforcing competition law.

5/10/2009
cs | en