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 Care; Ms. 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.