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 2 • 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,...) 3 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): • • • • 4 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) 5 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 6 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 7 • Thank you for your attention!