From 1 July 2015 onwards, the activities of the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) in competition matters will be decided by a completely new entity consisting of seven members with specific competences in law, economics, consumer affairs and business management.
In December 2014 the Danish Parliament adopted amendments to the Danish Competition Act involving a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the efficiency and independence of the DCCA in competition matters. The major change relates to the composition of the Danish Competition Council.
Today, the Danish Competition Council consists of 18 members of which nine are recommended by the trade organisations.
The new Competition Council will be a smaller, professional entity. Four of the members will have special competencies in law and economics; two of the members will have managerial experience gained as e.g. member of the board of directors or management in a corporation and one member will have special competences in consumer affairs. The Competition Council - that will continue to be politically independent of the Minister of Business and Growth - will have the overall responsibility for the administration of the Competition Act and will determine the strategic goals for the DCCA in enforcing the act.
In addition to the new Competition Council, an advisory committee will be established consisting of, inter alia, representatives of trade organisations. The role of this committee will be of an advisory nature (e.g. establishing the need for guidelines on competition issues, analyses or targeted information efforts for companies in certain sectors).
Further, the amendment to the Competition Act brings about increased independence for the DCCA’s competition analyses. Today, analyses are formally subject to the approval of the Minister of Business and Growth, albeit in practice they are to a large extent independent of the minister. In order to ensure that the DCCA can carry out analyses independently of political interests, it will be for the new Competition Council to decide which analyses the DCCA will produce and to approve these. The minister will, however, also have the possibility to request the DCCA to produce competition analyses and to approve these. When analyses are published, it will be stated whether the analysis has been commissioned by the Competition Council or by the minister.
Finally, the time limits for the adoption of decisions in phase I in merger cases will be amended, allowing for decisions to be taken within 35 working days (and not 25) where the undertakings concerned offer commitments, cf. Article 10 (1) of the EUMR.