The new draft competition law has been placed for electronic public consultation, until August 20, 2021.
Concretely, as the chairman of the Competition Commission, Giannis Lianos said in an article on Twitter, the bill was published on the Open Gov website after a year and a half of discussions in the legal commission. , as well as a broad public debate. on the critical aspects of the proposed reforms. .
According to the opening comments of the Ministry of Development and Investment, the bill attempts a different approach and treatment of the necessary procedures that guarantee the public interest, proposing their simplification or the elimination of bureaucratic obstacles, where this is necessary. is safe in order to support business. The regulations primarily concern economic operators and investors who exercise or wish to exercise economic activities whose exercise is facilitated and, finally, through the strengthening of entrepreneurship and competitiveness, their results are disseminated. society and the economy of the country as a whole.
In this context, each social partner and any interested party are invited to participate in the public consultation, by submitting their proposals for improving the provisions of the preliminary draft law before August 20, 2021, Friday at 10 p.m.
The law project
Among other things, the bill provides as follows:
With respect to the abuse of power in an ecosystem of structurally competitive importance, “ecosystem” means: (b) a platform that connects the financial activities of different companies with the provision of one or more products or services that affect the same users or different groups of businesses or end users.
A “platform” is defined as an entity that acts either as an intermediary for transactions between interdependent groups of end-users and business users or between interdependent groups of business users, or as an infrastructure for development and the supply of different but interdependent products and products. services.
Regarding the abuse of power in an ecosystem of structural importance for competition, the Competition Commission conducts an ex officio investigation to establish the infringements. If it finds an infringement, the Competition Commission issues a decision, which is notified to the company concerned and which obliges the latter to put an end to the infringement and to omit it in the future. By the same decision, the Competition Commission may convene the company within 60 days of its notification, in order to propose the measures it intends to implement to effectively comply with the decision of the Competition Commission. The committee then renders a decision within 120 days of notification of the previous infringement decision, making the measures proposed by the company mandatory. In the event that it considers that the proposed measures are not appropriate, the Competition Commission may, after having heard the undertaking, impose appropriate and necessary conduct measures to put an end to the infringement depending on its nature and its gravity and the economic model of the ecosystem in question. and the management of the General Competition Commission can initiate a compliance review process.
– Announcement of business mergers
Any concentration of companies must be notified to the Competition Commission within 30 days of the conclusion of the agreement or the publication of the offer or exchange or commitment to acquire a stake, which ensures the control of the company, when the total turnover of all the companies participating in the merger amounts to at least 150,000,000 euros on the world market and at least two of the participating companies each achieve, each separately, a total turnover of more than 15,000,000 euros on the Greek market.
In the event of culpable failure to comply with the notification obligation, the Competition Commission imposes on each debtor to notify a fine of at least 30,000 euros, which does not exceed 10% of total turnover. The calculation of the fine takes into account in particular the financial soundness of the undertakings participating in the concentration, the number of markets affected and their level of competition, as well as the estimated effect of the concentration on competition.
The persons subject to the notification, immediately after the notification, are required to publish the notified concentration in a financial daily with national circulation, at their expense. The text of the publication is immediately notified to the Competition Commission and is published on the website maintained by the Competition Commission. Any interested person can submit comments or provide information on the notified concentration. The Competition Commission takes into account the reasonable legal interest of the undertakings participating in the concentration in order to preserve business secrecy. A decision of the Competition Commission determines the specific content of the publication and settles any other relevant question.
By joint order of the Ministers of Finance and Development and Investment, taken following a public consultation, the aforementioned thresholds and criteria may be modified or different thresholds and criteria may be set by sector of the economy. . This decision is based on statistics compiled by the Competition Commission, after mapping the markets, every three years.
– Concentration screening procedure
Within one month of the notification of the concentration, the Competition Commission issues a decision and, depending on whether it is or not, initiates the process of full investigation into the notified concentration and immediately informs the parties accordingly. participating companies.
Companies can make changes within 15 days and the Competition Commission can threaten participating companies with a fine for non-compliance with the terms or conditions set out in the commitments.
The case is then submitted to the Competition Commission within 45 days from the date of opening of the full investigation procedure and by decision of the Competition Commission, which is issued within 90 days from from the date of opening of the full investigation procedure, no or no collection is prohibited. The expiry of the 90-day period, without a rejection decision, implies approval of the concentration by the committee which must issue the corresponding certificate.
Participating companies may propose commitments submitted no later than 20 days from the referral to the Competition Commission and the Competition Commission may, exceptionally, accept commitments after the expiry of the above-mentioned deadline for their submission. In this case, the 90-day period can be extended to 105 days.
It should be noted that the Commission may take appropriate interim measures to restore or maintain conditions of effective competition.
If, by court order, the decision of the Competition Commission is annulled in whole or in part, the latter shall re-examine the concentration in the light of market conditions. The notifying parties shall submit for this purpose a new notification or an addition to the original, if the latter has become incomplete due to changes in market conditions or the information provided. In the absence of such modifications, the Parties will confirm this fact to the Competition Commission.
The fine must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and can reach up to 10% of the company’s overall turnover. In the case of a group of companies, for the calculation of the fine, the total global turnover of the group is taken into account. To determine the amount of the fine, the seriousness, the duration, the geographical extent of the infringement, the duration and the type of participation in the infringement of the specific commitment are taken into account,
The Competition Commission may, by its decision, impose financial penalties per day of non-compliance, which are determined in proportion to the daily average total worldwide turnover of the company or association of companies before the pronouncement of the financial use decision with a maximum of 3% of this turnover and are calculated from the date set by the Commission decision.
The Competition Commission takes into account as a mitigating circumstance, in determining the amount of the fine, any compensation paid to the victims of the anticompetitive practice in question, or to a significant number of them, within the framework of a regulation. consensual. If the consensual settlement is pending, the Competition Commission may suspend the issuance of the decision imposing the fine for a period not exceeding 3 months.
If a fine is imposed on an association of companies, taking into account the total turnover of its members, and the association is not in debt, the association is required to claim contributions from its members in order to cover the amount of the fine. If no contribution is paid within the time limit, the competition commission may demand payment of the fine directly from each of the companies whose representatives belonged to the union’s decision-making bodies. When the Competition Commission has demanded payment in accordance with the previous paragraph, it may, if necessary to ensure full payment of the fine, demand payment of the balance by any member of the association active on the market in which the offense has been committed.
Forgiveness treatment programs for secret partnerships
A decision of the Competition Commission determines the modalities for the exemption or reduction of fines imposed on companies, associations of companies having independently participated in a horizontal cartel and natural persons who contribute to the investigation of cartels. horizontal.