Parliament passes bill on protecting free competition

Parliament on Tuesday passed a draft bill on "Protection of Free Competition" tabled by the regional development and competitiveness ministry.

The new laws mainly concern the operation of the Competition Commission and introduce changes to the requirements on companies to inform the Commission about mergers and concentrations.

Specifically, it abolishes the obligation to alert the Competition Commission about collaborations and 'small-scale' concentrations unless the companies involved have a turnover greater than the 150 million euro globally and at least two of them have a turnover of 15 million euro each on the Greek market. They also establish a shorter deadline for the processing of complaints not falling into the Committee's area of authority.

The bill also dictates that clearly unfounded complaints be put on file within the space of nine months from when they are submitted and introduces much tougher legal penalties.

It reduces the number of members on the Commission from nine to eight and changes the methods of their appointment, they are obliged to declare any positions they have held in the last five years and any position or collaboration accepted while on the Commission. It also introduces a conflict of interest clause that prevents members of handling any case involving a company with which they had or have professional collaboration.

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