The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic would like to invite you all to the European Competition Day which will be held in Bratislava on November 23, 2016. This conference is organised under the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The conference will be a unique opportunity to promote competition, to show the importance of the role of the European Commission and the National Competition Authorities in the process of competition protection and to raise awareness of the importance of competition law enforcement in everyday life of consumers. Hence, the European Competition Day is open to members of the European Competition Network, enforcers, practitioners, lawyers, business representatives, NGOs, judges as well as consumers and academics – everyone who is interested in competition law matters.
The conference will be opened by speeches of representatives of the Slovak Republic and AMO and key-note speech will be given by the EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager. Speakers will include high level representatives from the European Commission, Competition Authorities and Member States’ administrations, leading scholars in the field of competition law, business community, law firms and international organisations.
Different themes of the conference should demonstrate initiatives towards more effective enforcement of competition law and fighting new challenges in digital economy in the European Union. Hence, the main discussions are meant to be dedicated to the issue of more effective enforcement in private sphere as well as in public sphere and to a specific topic Big Data.
Three panel discussions will be devoted to:
- Big Data and Competition
- Towards more effective enforcement in the EU
(i) Enforcement of private damages for infringements of competition law,
(ii) Public enforcement: Empowerment of National Competition Authorities.
As Digital agenda is one of the priorities of the Slovak Presidency, the first panel discussion will focus on a specific topic of the Big Data within the context of competition law which is a part of a much broader agenda of the Digital Single Market.
It is needed to be said that the collection, processing and commercial use of data is often seen not as a competition law issue but rather as an issue concerning data protection enforcement. However, several recent proceedings point to the fact that some issues may arise. Thus, crucial questions emerge: Where does the competition policy stand in this issue and can we ignore Big Data? Answers to these questions will be searched for at the conference. Speakers in this panel discussion also include high level representatives from a National Competition Authority, the OECD, a business community and the European Commission.
The afternoon session of the conference will be devoted to better enforcement of competition law. Enforcement of private damages for infringements of competition law will be on agenda as you may know that a deadline for a transposition of the EU Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions is approaching and we all expect that after the transposition process is completed, we will have unified rules and more effective tools for those who have suffered damage to enforce their rights for compensation across the EU.
Furthermore, businesses and consumers as potential plaintiffs in damages actions will represent an important part of the addressees of the conference, therefore the second panel discussion will also look into what rights and obligations will the aforementioned Directive bring for plaintiffs and defendants while enforcing competition law through the tool of private actions. We believe that countries more experienced in this field will share their experience gained with us while looking more closely into this issue.
The third panel discussion will include opinions from representatives of National Competition Authorities, academic and a representative of a law firm. The panel will be focused on the question of enhancing the enforcement of EU competition rules by National Competition Authorities. This question was open in the consultation process in February this year. We find focusing on the issue of Empowerment of National Competition Authorities with regard to investigative and decision-making powers really important and the discussions should show whether such an empowerment regarding these specific powers is particularly needed or necessary and what the content of a possible piece of legislation should be.
Although Regulation 1/2003 has established the powers of National Competition Authorities to enforce articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU, these powers were incorporated only in national laws. Thus, some competition authorities are, for instance, unable to conduct digital searches of business hard drives or may lack some other important powers. Moreover, the interpretation of the investigative powers by national courts may vary across the EU. Therefore, the panellists will look at the conference for the answers to a question: What is missing in the EU legislation and how we can improve a current stage of public enforcement?
The European Competition Day held in Bratislava will be a unique opportunity to share experience, opinions and ideas at a high level forum gathering competition law experts and stakeholders across the European Union. We believe that the conference will bring new incentives and solutions to different issues raised from the respective topics. The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic is greatly honoured to welcome you all to this event in Bratislava.