Which Lawyer in Romania 2020 – Competition Chapter

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Published in Which Lawyer in Romania 2020 – Competition Chapter, 13th edition

Georgeta Dinu, Head of NNDKP’s Competition practice, contributed to the Competition Chapter of the latest edition of Which Lawyer on Romania.

“The crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic challenged the boundaries of competition law by requiring closer coordination between market players in crucial sectors and, thus, more guidance from the competition agency. These needs were mirrored in the public positions of the European Commission and of the Romanian Competition Council. Both authorities issued guidelines and frameworks for a smoother passage through the hindrances brought by the medical crisis.

In terms of agreements, the Romanian authority offered guidance for possible cooperation agreements between undertakings playing an important role in the supply of goods and medicines. In case of state aid, the European Commission was very active in providing assistance for Member States wishing to grant financial aid to companies and in speeding up the approval process of the state aid schemes.

While dawn raids had to be temporarily postponed, enforcement of competition rules was not diminished by Covid-19, the Romanian competition authority preserved a very active stance, especially against cartel-type or abuse of dominant position. In addition, the overall activity of the Romanian competition authority was generally moved online, with the submission of merger filings online and with meetings and hearings being possible via videoconference.

Competition law rules are derived heavily from the practice of the competition authorities and the case law of national and European courts.

Although companies are getting more accustomed with competition rules and are investing more resources in compliance, a major drawback is the lack of clarity in the interpretation of competition rules, with the practice not being very substantial in some areas. While some areas are straightforward, most of the questions raised by businesses remain debatable and open to several interpretations.

Given that compliance with competition law relies in the majority of cases on individual risks assessments, without the possibility of obtaining a binding confirmation from the authority by way of a decision to be issued in a formal procedure, many businesses are still to find resources to cope with this uncertainty, against the background of large fines.”

This article appeared in the 2020 edition of Which Lawyer in Romania, www.whichlawyer.ro.

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