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Editorial

Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Niš-Ekspres Fined for Abuse of Dominance

June 2019 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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On 24 May, the Serbian Competition Commission fined the bus company Niš-Ekspres from Niš (“Niš-Ekspres”) for the abuse of dominant position in the amount of RSD 40,726,439 (app. EUR 345,000), which is 1.3% of the total turnover generated by Niš-ekspres in 2016.

What to watch out for in case of a hard Brexit and ZUVIZK

June 2019 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The European Commission consistently emphasises the citizens’ rights and status in its hard Brexit preparations and contingency works. It appealed to EU Member Stats to take a generous approach towards the rights of UK citizens in the EU, given that the UK reciprocates such an approach. Therefore, in line with the Commission’s “no-deal” Contingency Action Plan, the Slovenian Government proposed and the Parliament adopted the Act regulating certain issues in the event of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from European Union without an Agreement (ZUVIZK).

Karanovic & Partners: The 13th Traditional Conference on Competition Law and Data Protection

December 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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On 28 November 2018, Karanovic & Partners, together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, held the Competition and Data Protection conference at the Hilton Belgrade hotel. This traditional yearly conference – now in its' 13th year, gathered more than 120 experts from the business and legal community, as well as key regulators and stakeholders, to discuss the most important current issues in the fields of competition law and data protection.

The event was also the launch of the 12th edition of Karanovic & Partners' annual publication - Focus on Competition, featuring the latest updates and developments from the local, regional, European and global practice of competition law.

The conference was divided into three parts – the welcome and opening speeches, followed by two panel discussions.

The Importance of the Rule of Law and Deeper Specialization in Different Areas of Law

Mr. Rastko Petaković, the Managing Partner at Karanovic & Partners, welcomed the guests and stated that a broader and deeper understanding of all of the related areas of law, including competition and data protection, is a necessity.

"The complexity of these areas requires daily immersion – both in the case of competition law and data protection. In turn, this leads to a better understanding of our clients' needs, said Mr. Petaković.

His Excellency, Mr. Pertti Juhani Ikonen, the Ambassador of Finland to Serbia, officially opened the conference stating that one of the reasons why Nordic countries are prosperous is that they almost always play on the same field and share the same values. "This is due to the rule of law and good governance", the Finnish Ambassador said.

Competition and the Welfare of Citizens

The President of the Serbian Commission for the Protection of Competition, Mr. Miloje Obradović, in his speech stated that the Serbian Competition Commission traditionally supports this conference. He also talked about the state of competition in Serbia and the Commission's work over the past year, pointing out that the institution's goal is market competitiveness.

"The contribution of an efficient protection of competition to the economic growth and welfare of Serbian citizens is a challenge, but the Commission is very well aware of its competences in that sense", Mr. Obradović said.

The Assistant Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Jovan Stojić, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Vice-President of the Government and the Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.

Mr. Stojić, also being the President of the Working Group for the Preparation of the new Competition Law, specifically talked about the preparations for the new law. He highlighted that "the working group in charge of drafting the law is very heterogeneous, adequately bringing together professionals from the competent ministries and state authorities, but also representatives of the relevant stakeholders' associations".

Competition and Economy – Serbian and European Perspectives

The first panel, titled "Competition Law and Economy: the Serbian and European perspectives" was moderated by  Mr. Bojan Vučković, Partner ⃰ at Karanovic & Partners' Competition department. The panellists included: Mr. Marko Obradović, Member of the Council of the Serbian Commission for the Protection of Competition; Ms. Maria Dreher, Counsel at the multinational law firm  Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Mr. Akos Reger, founder of the competition economics consultancy firm Allegro Consulting, Brussels; and, Ms. Adrijana Despotović, Head of Legal at Knjaz Miloš.

The panellists talked about the importance of cross-border communication and coordination between legal and economic advisors or national competition authorities; economic analysis and its impact on the shaping of antitrust or private enforcement cases; innovations and improvements of detection tools and actions used by competition authorities; as well as the importance of competition and regulatory compliance.

Data Protection and GDPR

The second panel, titled "The Protection of Personal Data: Compliance with GDPR", was moderated by Mr. Goran Radošević, Partner ⃰ at Karanovic & Partners' Commercial department. The panellists included: Ms. Nevena Ružić, Assistant General Secretary and the Head of the Sector for Harmonization of the Office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection; Ms. Marijana Poznan, Head of Legal at Fresenius Medical CareMs. Sanja Spasenović, Senior Associate ⃰ at Karanovic & Partners; and, Mr. Kevin Rihtar, Associate at Karanovic & Partners.

The discussion focused on the new Serbian Data Protection Law, which is to become applicable in August 2019, as well as the experiences, from the perspective of Slovenia, in the implementation of the GDPR. The panellists discussed the practical and somewhat challenging implications of the application of the new data protection regulations.

⃰ Independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić.

Raspberries and IT: New Sector Inquiries by the Serbian Competition Commission

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") recently finished sector inquiries concerning quite distinct industries – raspberries and the public procurement for software and hardware. The aim behind the inquiries was to perform extensive market research and analysis in order to acquire a clearer picture of the possible antitrust issues and risks in two sectors widely perceived as strategic for the development of the Serbian economy.

The Commission analysed two relevant markets within the broader ICT market - more specifically:

  • the wholesale of software; and,
  • the wholesale of hardware (computers and computer equipment).

These markets are especially interesting in relation to the public procurement procedures, where the value of public procurements rose by 27% from 2014 to 2016, mostly in open bidding procedures. The Commission identified four major contracting authorities, the largest of them being "Elektroprivreda Srbije" and six suppliers/bidders identified as largest by accounting for almost 50% of the value of the relevant public procurements.

Having in mind the characteristics of these markets, inter alia, a small number of market players, few alternatives to the services provided, repetitive public procurement procedures, the Commission noted that bid rigging could be a potential cause for concern, and stated that it would dedicate special attention to working together with the relevant actors in rooting out any such practices in the future, in order to ensure a level playing field and efficient use of public resources.

The second sector inquiry dealt with the markets for raspberry repurchase and export in the period between 2015 and 2017. The competitive conditions on these markets are likely especially interesting for the local authorities, since Serbia is one of the largest producers of raspberries in the world, accountable for approx. 10% of the raspberries grown globally.

During the inquiry, the Commission determined that there are certain structural issues that might affect the relevant markets and the Serbian raspberry industry as a whole. The problems with a single repurchase price and long-term supply agreements gave rise to uncertainties concerning the value of raspberries produced and sold on the market. The Commission stressed the importance of including all the competent authorities and undertakings in order to solve these problems and maintain raspberries as a prominent and recognisable Serbian brand.

The Commission ultimately concluded that it did not identify any prima facie evidence of competition infringements affecting either of these markets. However, this does not mean that the Commission, now armed with more detailed information on the competitive environment, would not scrutinize the behaviour of specific market players at some point in the future. 

Even More Sector Inquiries: Sportswear And Oil Retail Under Scrutiny By The Serbian Commission

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Competition Commission (the " Commission ") continues its diligent examination of the Serbian competitive landscape in specific industries, this time with inquiries in two more industries – sportswear (including footwear and sporting equipment) and oil (petroleum products). Once again, the aim behind the market test was to identify potential issues on the relevant markets and provide broader insight into the functioning of the relevant markets.

Both of these industries have previously been of some interest to the Commission. The Commission recently conducted dawn raids and fined several sportswear retailers for resale price maintenance. The Commission has identified significant concentration on this market, giving rise to potential concerns about restrictive agreements in the industry, especially vis-à-vis the relationship between suppliers and resellers.

Sector inquiries into the conditions in oil wholesale and retail have traditionally been high on the Commission's agenda, with a number of market investigations conducted into the past. The noted a trend of market growth in comparison to 2016, especially in relation to production of crude oil and import of diesel fuel. The Commission (sadly) noted limited progress being made in terms of the recommendations relevant to market development it issued in previous reports. The Commission stated that it would watch over the oil industry with great care and already announced a new inquiry in this sector starting in March and covering 2017.

Sector inquiries have obviously been on the rise in the previous period, simultaneously contributing to the Commission's understanding of the workings of the markets identified as key to the Serbian economy and the antitrust awareness of market players. The next steps for both sector investigations and antitrust enforcement efforts spearheaded by the Commission remain to be seen and are eagerly awaited in the local competition community.

The conclusion of a restrictive agreement is a new criminal offence in the amended Criminal Code of

January 2017 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Bojovic & Partners.

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The Criminal Code (Official Gazette of RS, no. 85/2005, 72/2009, 111/2009, 121/2012, 104/2013, 108/2014 and 94/2016; Code was amended on 23 November 2016. Most of the new provisions of the Code will enter into force as of 1 June 2017. 

New Merger Control Regulation Enters Into Force Today

March 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The New Merger Control Regulation, governing the content and the manner of submitting merger filings to the Serbian Competition Commission, entered into force today, 2 February 2016. The new Regulation represents a modern legal document, fully aligned with the relevant EU acquis, and will  significantly facilitate the merger filing process to the benefit of the applicants, as well as the overall efficiency of the Competition Commission.

Serbian Competition Commission Intensifies Enforcement

September 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition did not seem to relax much during the summer months, actually intensifying efforts to enforce competition law by launching several investigations.

Serbian brewery fined in Bosnia for abuse of dominance

On 20 November 2013, the Bosnian Competition Council issued a decision establishing that the Serbian brewery "Apatinska" abused its dominant position on the relevant market of beer distribution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council imposed a fine on the brewery in the amount of BAM 430,000 (EUR 215,000).

This is the second time in a little over a year that the Bosnian competition authority has handed Apatinska a fine for infringement of competition rules. On 4 September 2012, the Council rendered a decision fining the brewery with BAM 265,000 (EUR 135,000).

Serbian parliament adopts amendments to Competition Act

Amendments to the Serbian Law on Protection of Competition were published in the Official Gazette on 31 October 2013 and will come into force on 8 November 2013. The adopted amendments to a large extent follow solutions from the draft which the Government submitted to the Parliament back in July this year. We devoted two earlier blog posts to various drafts of the amendments (apart from the Government's July draft, we also analyzed the initial draft published in April). Now that the amendments have ripened into law, it is worth providing an overview of the most important changes to the competition legislation.

Serbian competition authority publishes its annual report for 2012

The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition has published its Annual Report for 2012. Because the Commission publishes its decisions and opinions randomly, the report offers an informative scan of the authority’s activities in the course of the previous year.

Serbian Labor Environment and Employment Incentives For Foreign Investors

Since the commencement of transition process in Serbia and inflow of foreign investments, labor law has been characterized by the foreign investors as one of the main obstacles for such investments, together with the inefficient state administration, unsettled ownership status of real estate, political instability and related risks of investment etc.

Serbia Introduces Block Exemption Regulations

April 2010 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic .

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Five years after enacting EU-like Competition Law, the Serbian Goverment has enacted block exemption regulations for vertical and horizontal agreements. The regulations became effective on 13 March 2010 and companies have been given theree months to comply.

Competition Newsletter, July 2009

August 2009 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic .

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Serbian Parliament passed the new Competition Law earlier this month but voted to put it into effect as of 1 November. Most notably, for procedures commencingas of November, the Commission will impose fines and other sanctions directly, up to 10% of the parties’ revenues. The new law completely remodels all procedures before the Commission. The revision did little to change the substantive approach to competition rules thus keeping the law essentially compliant with EU rules.

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