25 Years Protecting Competition

2016-05-26
On 26th May 2016 the Office for the Protection of Competition organized a conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the competition law in the Czech Republic and the Office´s establishment on 1st June 1991.

The conference was attended by a number of distinguished guests, among others President of the Constitutional Court Mr. Pavel Rychetský, Minister for Regional Development Ms. Karla Šlechtová, Rector of the Charles University Mr. Tomáš Zima, Supreme Public Prosecutor Mr. Pavel Zeman, Director General of the Austrian Competition Authority Mr. Theodor Thanner and Chairwoman of Slovak Office for Public Procurement Ms. Zita Táborská.   

Mr. Petr Rafaj opened the conference by a balance of the outcomes and successes achieved by the Office during the 25 years of its existence. He spoke about the development of each competence of the Office. In competition law enforcement the focus on bid rigging agreements will persist. However, the Office is going to concentrate also on new challenges, such as digital markets and the development of private enforcement. As regards public procurement supervision the Office will seek to sustain the shortened time limits for issuing decisions.  

The importance of academic sector was stressed by the Rector of the Charles University. President of the Constitutional Court remembered the enactment of the first Czech competition act. Also the absence of successful constitutional lawsuit against the Office´s decisions was pointed out. Director General of the Austrian Competition Authority introduced the achievements of its agency and presented general principles of competition law and the independence of competition agencies. Common current and future challenges faced by competition agencies were also discussed.  

The afternoon part was launched by the panel dedicated to public procurement award procedure supervision. Vice-chair of the Office for public procurement Mr. Josef Chýle opened the session by a short speech, among others, on the new act on public procurement. Minister for Regional Development Ms. Karla Šlechtová then described the drafting process of the new legal framework. Mr. Pavel Zeman consequently spoke about the cooperation of the Office with public bodies conducting the criminal proceedings. Chairwoman of the Slovak Office for Public Procurement presented the differences between Czech and Slovak public procurement legal framework and pointed out current challenges.  

Following competition panel was initiated by I. Vice-chair of the Office for competition Mr. Hynek Brom who elaborated on the development of the most important institutes and procedures of the competition enforcement in the Czech Republic. Mr. Boris Gregor, Vice-chair of the Slovak Antimonopoly Office, remembered the common start of the development of Czech and Slovak competition law. Mr. Antonio Capobianco (OECD Competition Committee) presented the activities of the OECD in the competition area and the activity of the Office within the OECD. Mr. Filip Kubík (DG Competition) stressed mainly the significance of cooperation within the European Competition Network and the recent development of private enforcement of competition law.    

Last session dedicated to state aid was led by Mr. Petr Solský, Vice-chair of the Office. Mr. Solský together with Ms. Petra Tabery (Ministry of Agriculture) mentioned that all state aid notifications have been successful so far for the Czech Republic and no recovery of unlawful state aid has been ordered. Ms. Lenka Kovačovská (Ministry of Industry and Trade) informed about current issues in the energy sector. Mr. Martin Fott (Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union) accented the successful cooperation with the Office in the state aid area.

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