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Representing internationally the Competition Council`s image and facilitating exchange of experience in the field of competition and state aid are one of the basic dimensions of functioning of the Authority.
During the years 2012 -2013 several activities have been conducted that contributed to the development and diversification of the Competition Council`s collaborative relationships both within the international and regional structures for competition, as well as with its counterparts in other countries.
Competition Council has performed a pro-active role within international structures aimed at promoting competition culture and capacity building in the world competition authorities such as the International Competition Network (ICN), Regional Centre for Competition in Budapest OECD (CRC) Interstate Council for Antimonopoly Policy (ICAP) of Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Energy Community (EC), the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Competition (EMCN), BRICS Countries Network on Competition (Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa), etc.
The collaborative projects with the European Union and the World Bank Group, as strategic partners for development have a considerable share in the international relations of the Competition Council.
»» Collaboration with the World Bank Group (WBG)
The Competition Council has received technical assistance from the WBG during all its activity. This assistance was manifested through seminars, trainings, individual and collective consultations on various investigations, etc.
Within the World Bank Group's Competitiveness Enhancement Project (CEP-II), during 2017, the following activities were carried out:
1. Elaboration of an info-pack for judges involved in civil cases in order to inform and raise awareness about the importance of the state aid issue in the light of national legislation (Law No. 139 of June 15, 2012) and the best applied practices in EU countries.
2. Organizing, during September / November 2017, 4 training sessions (workshops) for a number of about 120 participants in the field of state aid who received participation certificates.
The training course included the following topics: "Notion, objectives for granting, forms of granting, notification, authorization and reporting of state aid", "Procedure on unlawful aid and abusive aid, recovery of unlawful aid and abusive aid and of the interest "," Liability for violating the provisions of Law no. 139 of 15.06.2012 on state aid "," Implementation of the provisions of Articles 340 and 403 of the RM-EU Association Agreement ".
It is worth mentioning that a separate workshop was organized with the Judges of the Superior Council of Magistracy of the Republic of Moldova dedicated to the application of the competition and state aid legislation in the Republic of Moldova. Judges from the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania, representatives of the Romanian Competition Council and the Republic of Moldova offered training during the workshop.
The technical assistance under the World Bank Competitiveness Enhancement Project (CEP I) was aimed at improving the legislative framework on competition and building the institutional capacity of authority.
Also, during the 2013 negotiations have been held with the representatives of the WBG to include in the framework of the second project of the World Bank Competitiveness Enhancement (CEP II), expected to be launched in late 2014, activities designed to promote competition by identifying barriers to competition in those sectors and markets where lack of competitive conditions hinder the development of competition in local and international businesses. It is essential to develop recommendations for improving national legislation to remove barriers to competition and organizing advocacy activities and trainings for judges on implementation of competition law and state aid.
Also, at the end of 2013 another Project of WBG started, whose beneficiary is the Competition Council. The main objective of this project is to create an online information portal for state aid, which will ensure transparency of granting and usage of granted state aid, and respectively, a more efficient allocation of state resources. All the market players will benefit of the results of the Project.
It is important to note that competition advocacy activities conducted by the Competition Council during 2013 were assessed in the Contest launched by the World Bank Group, and the Competition Council was selected for an Honorable Mention in the thematic category of “Raising awareness of private sector stakeholders and empowering consumers to deter anticompetitive behavior”.
The aim of this contest was to highlight the role of competition in promoting competition culture. Within the contest success stories of competition authorities around the world were presented, including the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova.
The success stories have been focused on the activities conducted by the competition authorities to promote and encourage a competitive business environment not through mechanisms of coercion but by promoting good relations with other public entities and increasing awareness of the society on the competition benefits.
The WBG Honorable Mention is particularly important for the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova, being the result of joint efforts by the whole team of the competition authority in Moldova for the successful implementation of the actions and policies and also the evidence of international appreciation of these actions.
»» Cooperation within the OECD Regional Centre for Competition in Budapest (RCC)
CRC goal is oriented to expanding access of non-OECD countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe to OECD competition activities. In this regard, the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova has been constantly benefited of RCC support from April 2007.
At the OECD Global Competition Forum in October 2015, the President of the Competition Council participated with a speech in the roundtable entitled "Does competition create or kill jobs?"
During the years 2012-2013 the Competition Council personnel has participated in international thematic seminars organized with the support of RCC, the purpose of which was focused mainly on the dissemination of best practices and international advanced experience with respect to mergers, abuse of dominance, cartel policy, competitive and regulated sectors.
The gained experience by the experts of the Competition Council served as a support for their work within the authority, especially in order to align policy documents to international standards.
Also, participation in these international events helped to establish useful contacts for the continuous exchange of experience with representatives of other competition authorities around the world, which is an effective tool to improve current and future activity of the Competition Council.
»» Cooperation within the International Competition Network (ICN)
ICN is a network that brings together competition authorities around the world. The purpose of this international structure is to provide methodological and practical support to competition authorities to implement competition policy, to promote competition culture as well as to facilitate cooperation between authorities.
Within ICN, the Competition Council participated both in working groups in which various issues were discussed such as the implementation of competition policy, mergers and cartels as well as in Annual Conferences that represent a genuine platform for addressing the most pressing problems that competition authorities are facing, and possible solutions to them.
»» The Partnership with European Union
The partnerships with the competition authorities of European Union Member States facilitate the adjusting of national competition law and state aid to the acquis communautaire.
Under the European Union TAIEX Project, in November 2017 a Regional Workshop entitled "State Aid Compensation according to the Altmark Criteria" was organized in Chisinau.
Under the TAIEX European Union Project in November 2017, a Regional Workshop entitled "State Aid Compensation according to the Altmark Criteria" was organized in Chisinau.
The event brought together representatives of the competition authorities of Georgia and Ukraine who were willing to take on the experience of the European Union in the application of state aid law in the provision of services of general economic interest. During this event the participants had also the opportunity to take over our experience in reporting, evaluating and monitoring state aid through the Electronic State Aid Registry (SIRASM), implemented with the support of the World Bank, which is a unique and advanced tool in this field.
The purpose of the event was to improve the understanding of the Altmark criteria and to provide assistance in developing the skills and competences of the authorities in the South Eastern Europe region. Some of the best qualified experts in Romania, Hungary, Croatia and the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition shared the European Union's experience of granting / delegating rights and obligations to provide services of general economic interest in the light of the EU regulatory framework.
Under the Twinning project "Support to Implementation and Enforcement of competition and state aid policy" funded by the European Union, the Competition Council benefited of technical assistance for developing the legal framework on competition and state aid, the final point of which was the adoption of Law no. 139 of 15.06.2012 on State Aid and Competition Law no. 183 of 11.07.2012, as well as the regulations for their implementation.
European Union provided considerable support though this project giving consultancy for developing a completely new legal framework on competition and state aid, which places Moldova among the top CIS countries in terms of opportunities to ensure and promote a healthy competition environment, Moldova being the first and the only country in this region that has a law on State Aid.
To ensure the implementation of these laws during the reporting period were developed and submitted for consideration to the EU Delegation in Chisinau few requests for projects, including:
- Request for a new Twinning project on state aid (expected for 2015);
- Request for Technical Assistance Project on Competition (expected 2014);
- Request for TAIEX project - study visit to the Hungarian Competition Authority, to exchange experiences with regard to the implementation of competition law and state aid (expected for 2014).
»» Cooperation within the Interstate Council for Antimonopoly Policy (ICAP) of the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Cooperation with CIPA is mainly characterized by the Competition Council's participation in regular CIPA meetings that are convoked twice a year, each CIS member country hosting the event by rotation.
During these meetings the Competition Council has the role of promoter of European competition policy.
Also in the period of reference, the Competition Council experts participated at thematic seminars organized under CIPA as well as in working groups where they performed a useful exchange of information and experience with similar representatives of the CIS countries, on competition in the food, oil, pharmaceutical, telecommunications markets, etc.
This allowed discussing the problems the competition authorities of the CIS member states are facing, including the Competition Council of the Republic, and addressing them in the most efficient way.
»» Bilateral Cooperation
During the reporting period many activities were conducted that contributed to developing and diversifying the Competition Council`s cooperation partnerships with its foreign counterparts.
Under the cooperation with the colleagues from the United States of America, the Competition Council received support from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) representatives through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during 2016-2018. There were provided several training sessions in the field of unfair competition, cartel detection and use of information technologies for collecting evidence during dawn raids.
In order to achieve the European vector of foreign policy of the Republic of Moldova, the Competition Council has undertaken a series of actions directed to the initiation, development and deepening the cooperation with EU countries, including Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, etc.
The Moldovan-Slovak cooperation in the field of competition is based on the bilateral cooperation agreement between the competition authorities of the Republic of Moldova and Slovakia, signed in Bratislava on 20 November 2014.
The agreement was signed on the occasion of the official visit to Slovakia of the delegation of the Competition Council, headed by Mrs. Viorica CĂRARE, the President of the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova.
During the meeting on this occasion, the Parties expressed their willingness to further strengthen their mutual relations by extending joint cooperation to a wide range of areas. Signing this agreement will facilitate the exchange of experience and information between authorities by providing support in international case investigations and launching partnerships under European projects.
Thus, during the period 13-14 May 2015 the representatives of the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova paid a study visit to Bratislava (Slovakia), to the exchange experience in competition and state aid area. The project was implemented with the support of the Slovak Agency for Development and International Cooperation (SlovakAid) and the Slovak Embassy to the Republic of Moldova.
The purpose of the visit was to take over the good practices of the European Commission and the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic in the field of state aid.
Thus, during the meeting with the State Aid Department of the Ministry of Finance of Slovakia, there were discussed the preparation of the Annual State Aid Report, the state aid experience in the pre-accession phase of the Slovak Republic, the standards applied by the European authorities when reporting and monitoring state aid, the role of local public authorities in the implementation of state aid law, experience in the development of state aid schemes. At the same time, the representatives of the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova participated in the International Conference on the topic "New tendencies in the field of the competitive normative framework in Slovakia and the European Union" organized by the competition authority of Slovakia.
During the conference, the experts from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the UK and the European Union Commission approached topics related to legislative novelties, decisions of competition authorities and courts, carrying out inspections according to Slovak and European national legislation, economic approach to vertical effects (analyses in the sphere of cartels and economic mergers).
The experience and knowledge acquired will be useful in further harmonizing competition and state aid legislation with the Community acquis.
This project represents a continuation of the bilateral cooperation based on the agreement between the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova and the Competition Authority of the Slovak Republic.
In the context of Moldovan-Estonian competition partnership, the study visit to Tallinn, contributed to assimilating the best practices of Estonian Competition Authority in the field of competition law enforcement.
With reference to the Moldovan-Romanian competition partnership, cooperation relations have been performed under the Cooperation Agreement on Competition Policy between the Competition Council of Romania (CCR) and the National Agency for Protection of Competition of the Republic of Moldova, signed on 19.11.2007 in Bucharest. In this context, multiple study visits were paid in Bucharest, the purpose of which was to take experience from the similar authority in Romania with regard to application of Community law on competition and state aid.
In the context of the transition from ANPC to the Competition Council, a particular relevance had the exchange of experience with the competition authority in Latvia for strengthening the institutional capacity of the Competition Council.
Also, in 2012-2013 were conducted joint activities in bilateral relations with competition authorities of CIS countries, such as Armenia, Ukraine, etc.
With reference to the Moldovan-Ukrainian competition and state aid partnership is notable the participation of Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova delegation at the joint session of the Competition Authority and deputies of Ukraine Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in March 2013, where Moldova`s experience with regard to the adjustment of state aid legislation with the acquis communautaire was introduced.
»» Bilateral Agreements