Latest updates

Dashcams – safety versus privacy? The Austrian perspective
Schoenherr
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Austria
  • 27 November 2020

Dashcams have become increasingly popular in recent years and a built-in dashcam is now the most sought-after feature among car buyers. Buyers' primary motivation is self-explanatory: recorded footage can be used as evidence in case of an accident. However, whether dashcams are incompatible with privacy and data protection law and thus illegal on Austrian roads is a tricky question.

Competition Protection Agency investigates potential collusion among four LPG providers
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Slovenia
  • 26 November 2020

The Competition Protection Agency has initiated an investigation into a potential restrictive agreement or concerted practices among four energy companies. The agency has reasons to believe that the companies breached Article 6 of the Prevention of the Restriction of Competition Act and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by agreeing to accept returns of only their own liquefied petroleum gas cylinders.

New law on debureaucratising functioning of companies enters into force
Schoenherr
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Romania
  • 16 November 2020

Law 223/2020 recently introduced a series of important changes to the Companies Law. It appears that the goal of these provisions is to further simplify the legal requirements for setting up and operating limited liability companies so that they become more attractive to investors seeking to carry out business in Romania.

Investigation into TikTok – HCA takes on the tech world
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Hungary
  • 12 November 2020

The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) recently initiated an investigation into TikTok, the popular social media platform. TikTok's capacity to generate vast amounts of consumer data and shower its users with ads has already sounded several alarm bells as regulators attempt to make sense of the phenomena that is digitalisation. The HCA took the initiative to scrutinise the platform with a focus on consumer protection.

European Commission comments on Western Balkan countries' level of harmonisation of antitrust rules
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • International
  • 05 November 2020

The European Commission recently adopted the 'enlargement package' for 2020, which encompasses reports on candidate and potential candidate countries' progress towards EU accession. The progress reports contain, among other things, an assessment of the level of harmonisation of the Western Balkan countries' national competition laws with EU competition law and practice.

Has Croatia implemented FDI screening mechanism?
Schoenherr
  • Corporate Finance/M&A
  • Croatia
  • 04 November 2020

The Regulation on the Implementation of the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Screening Regulation (the Implementing Regulation) recently entered into force. The foreign investment clearance concept has not been regulated under Croatian law before and, even with the Implementation Regulation's entry into force, little has changed. This article examines FDI in Croatia.

More pressure selling in hotel booking sector – cooperation with HCA prevents substantial fine
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Hungary
  • 29 October 2020

Following the first market study in the consumer protection field in 2019 relating to the application of digital comparison tools, the Hungarian Competition Authority did not hesitate to apply its findings in practice. In early 2020 it imposed a record fine on Booking.com BV for unfair commercial practices. This has now been followed by a decision that Szallas.hu, the biggest local market player and a main competitor of Booking.com, engaged in unfair practices. However, this time, no fine was imposed.

Expected developments and competition law considerations in light of fuel market liberalisation
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Slovenia
  • 22 October 2020

The Slovenian government has decided that price control measures in the field of fuel products are no longer necessary, meaning that the retail fuel market will be fully liberalised from October 2020. Following deregulation, fair competition in the fuel market will be ensured through the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and its Slovenian equivalents and Articles 6 and 9 of the Prevention of Restriction of Competition Act, which prohibit anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominance in the market.

Sparking change: Renewable Energy Expansion Act published for evaluation
Schoenherr
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Austria
  • 19 October 2020

The eagerly awaited draft Renewable Energy Expansion Act (EAG) was recently published for evaluation. To help achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, the draft creates new framework conditions for the expansion of renewable energy in Austria. In view of the high level of funding, the EAG leaves no doubt that the expansion of renewable energies is one of Austria's main objectives for the next 10 years. However, a look at other countries clearly shows that funding alone will not be enough.

COVID-19 travel restrictions are back
Schoenherr
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Hungary
  • 14 October 2020

Pursuant to Government Decree 408/2020 (VIII 30), Hungary closed its borders to non-Hungarian citizens as of 1 September 2020. The new rules abolish the tricolour system of green, yellow and red countries and qualify virtually all countries as red. Reclosing Hungary's borders appears to be a straightforward measure to fight the pandemic on the one hand, but on the other, there is a risk of going against the European Union's basic principle of free movement. But is that the case here?

Second-instance court rejects PKP Cargo's appeal against abuse decision
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Poland
  • 01 October 2020

A second-instance court has rejected PKP Cargo's appeal against a Zl14.22 million (€3.2 million) abuse of dominance fine. The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection originally imposed the fine in 2015, as it found that PKP Cargo had abused its dominant position in the domestic rail freight market by unlawfully changing the rules for the sale of freight services, allowing the company to refuse to sign special contracts with competitors.

New FDI screening act
Schoenherr
  • Corporate Finance/M&A
  • Austria
  • 30 September 2020

In July 2020 a new foreign direct investment (FDI) screening act, the Investment Control Act (ICA), entered into force. The ICA, which largely transposes the requirements of the EU Foreign Investment Screening Regula­tion, is in line with the general EU trend of tightening or enacting FDI screening instruments, which has been fuelled by concerns of buy-outs of critical European infrastructure by foreign investors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-cigarette distributor fined for resale price maintenance
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Czech Republic
  • 24 September 2020

In a first-instance decision, the Office for the Protection of Competition has fined RITCHY EU sro Kc6.7 million (€270,000) for resale price maintenance practices. According to the decision, RITCHY EU, a distributor of e-cigarettes and refills, violated the Act on the Protection of Competition between 6 September 2017 and 31 March 2019 by imposing on its customers minimum resale prices for the goods concerned.

UOKiK will investigate fruit market over potential price fixing
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Poland
  • 24 September 2020

The National Council of Agricultural Chambers recently asked the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to look into potential competition rule breaches in the soft fruit market, especially regarding the sale of gooseberries. According to gooseberry growers, the buying price of gooseberries is too low compared with the potential price of further sale. The UOKiK is set to investigate Poland's soft fruit market over suspected price fixing.

Supreme Administrative Court repeals merger clearance for Sopharma Trading/Pharmastore
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Bulgaria
  • 24 September 2020

The Supreme Administrative Court, acting as the second and final instance, recently repealed the Commission for the Protection of Competition's (CPC's) clearance for the acquisition of Pharmastore OOD by Sopharma Trading AD. In its decision, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the CPC had failed to analyse the de facto vertical links between Sopharma and CHS.

Administrative court repeals Eurohold-CEZ merger prohibition
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Bulgaria
  • 20 August 2020

In October 2019 the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) prohibited the Eurohold-CEZ merger due to its 'conglomerate' effect and the significant combined resources of the acquirer's and the target's groups, respectively. An administrative court recently repealed the prohibition on the grounds that the CPC formally opened in-depth proceedings but entirely omitted the in-depth investigation phase, thereby breaching Bulgarian law and the EU Merger Regulation.

City of Prague fined for unfair parking rules
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Czech Republic
  • 20 August 2020

The Office for the Protection of Competition recently fined the City of Prague Kc980,000 (approximately €36,981) for creating anti-competitive parking conditions for hybrid vehicles. According to the office's press release, between 17 April 2018 and 30 April 2019 the City of Prague violated the Act on the Protection of Competition by favouring the parking of certain hybrid vehicles in paid parking zones in its territory without objectively justifiable reasons.

New steps towards debureaucratising functioning of companies
Schoenherr
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • Romania
  • 17 August 2020

At the beginning of 2020, legislative initiatives were launched to debureaucratise the functioning of companies established in Romania. In furtherance of these initiatives, in July 2020 20 members of Parliament submitted to the Senate a draft law proposing new amendments to the Companies Law. The draft law proposes numerous amendments – some which are welcome and some which raise questions as to their benefits. This article highlights the main proposed legislative changes and their anticipated effects.

Administrative Court revokes TV channel divestment order
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Slovenia
  • 13 August 2020

​The Administrative Court recently overturned a Competition Protection Agency (CPA) divestment order, pursuant to which Dutch telecoms provider United Group was required to sell its Sport Klub TV channels for having breached the competition rules relating to market concentration. Although the court's ruling returns the case to the CPA for reconsideration, it does not affect the CPA's earlier decision to fine United Group €3.7 million for the late notification of its acquisition of the Sport Klub TV channels.

Competition analysis of production, transmission and supply of heating for household and non-household needs
Schoenherr
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Bulgaria
  • 13 August 2020

The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) recently opened a sector analysis of the markets for the production, transmission and supply of heating for household and non-household needs and vertically connected markets. The CPC pointed out that it has examined various aspects of the energy sector in recent years (eg, proceedings for antitrust breaches by participants on the relevant market).