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Capacity building and EU cooperation
with third countries in the field of
competition policy
Sam Pieters
International Relations Unit
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
• 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,
• Bilateral competition specific cooperation: with
competition authorities of main trading partners and EU
Neighbourhood policies (FTAs, MoUs,…).
• Multilateral co-operation: working in international fora
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
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):
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)
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
Lessons learnt
1. A successful technical assistance program requires active
collaboration between the recipient, the donor, and the
provider of the assistance
2. 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
3. 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
4. The content of the technical assistance program should
evolve in line with the absorption capacity of the agency
5. Providers of technical assistance should be
knowledgeable and experienced in the application of
competition law
• 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!