Bill on the organisation of the National Competition Authority: towards greater independence?
On 1st of October 2019, a bill (number 7449) was tabled in order to transpose into national law the Directive (EU) 2019/1 in order to provide Member States’ competition authorities with the means to implement competition rules more effectively and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market , the latter to be transposed by 4 February 2021 at the latest. According to the bill, the objective of this Directive is to “provide all national competition authorities of the Member States with sufficient guarantees of independence, resources and enforcement powers, necessary for the effective and uniform application throughout the Union of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and of the parallel provisions of national competition law”. The bill will repeal the competition law currently in force and plans to introduce several important amendments. Indeed, the latter establishes the transition from the Competition Council, an independent administrative authority, to the Competition Authority (hereafter “Authority”), thus becoming a public institution capable of taking legal action and represented for this purpose by its President. Concerning the composition of this Authority, the number of advisers will increase. As a result, the number of effective advisers will increase to four and the number of alternate advisers to a minimum of six. Changes are also to be noted in the procedure, such as concerning inspections. It is planned to transfer to the investigating judge at the Court of and in Luxembourg the power to issue to the investigating adviser an authorisation to carry out unannounced inspections of the undertakings concerned. The bill also proposes to extend the information that can be captured in order to include data stored, processed or transmitted in an automated data processing or transmission system. In addition, concerning the evidence, it should be noted in particular that “documents, oral statements, electronic messages, recordings and any other material containing information, in any form or support” will be admissible as evidence.
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