The Competition Conference organized by the Austrian Competition Authority on December 11th and 12th in Vienna was mainly characterized by the successful work of the European Competition Authorities and Competition Authorities from third countries worldwide.
More than 200 participants from more than 30 countries were attending the conference on which best practices in investigations and settlement procedures as well as independence, institutional design and investigative and decision making powers of national Competition Authorities versus due process and defence rights were discussed.
Among the high-ranking conference speakers were amongst others the Vice-President of the European Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts, who was giving a lecture about due process in competition cases and the President of the Belgian Competition Authority, Jacques Steenbergen talking about the independence and institutional structure, especially of smaller Competition Authorities, and the President of the French Competition Authority, Bruno Lasserre.
Director-General for Competition of the European Commission | Alexander talianer
One more of the excellent guest speakers of the Conference, Director-General for Competition - Alexander Italianer, pointed out in his keynote speech the necessity of strong national Competition Authorities in the member states of the European Union who have to fulfill their work independently and neutrally to be credible vis-à-vis undertakings and the general public. For that purpose it is necessary to properly fund Competition Authorities, adequately staff them and prevent them from being politicized as far as the appointment of staff, priorities of investigations of anti-competitive behavior and the budgetary resources are concerned. Moreover, Competition Authorities have to be equipped with effective investigative and decision making powers, for whose effective use again adequate budgetary resources and staff are necessary.
Finally he pointed out that the Council has been urging the Austrian government since 2013 to strengthen the resources of the Austrian Competition Authority, but no action has been taken since.
Signing of "Memorandum of Understanding"
During the Conference the Austrian Competition Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Competition Authorities of Albania and Tunisia for future cooperation.
Enforcement of competition law ensures consumer protection
Director-General Theodor Thanner of the Austrian Competition Authority emphasized in his closing words the necessity of strengthening international relationship and effective enforcement of competition rules as competition law also protects consumers and thus society as a whole.
As the Competition Conference was opened only for National Competition Authorities and selected Institutions on the first day you will find the presentations of the second day, which was open for the public. Moreover we provide you with the speech of Director-General for Competition, Alexander Italianer.
Please keep in mind that only the presentations of the second day are available for download as the first day was a clossed session only for Competition Authorities and selected institutions. Thank you for your understanding!