16 Nov, 2017

The Energy Community Recognizes “Serbian Menarini”

The Energy Community, the quintessential energy organization aiming to extend EU’s internal energy market and EU acquis to southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region, and create an integrated & sustainable pan-European energy market, recently published its 2016/2017 Annual Implementation Report (Report) (available for download), where it officially acknowledged our ongoing constitutional challenge against the Serbian Competition Act, secondary legislation and general regulations.  The report does a noteworthy job in properly identifying some of the key arguments set out in the constitutional challenge, particularly the criminal nature of competition proceedings, lack of procedural safeguards required by the ECHR, and that the […]

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06 Oct, 2017

Bar Association of Vojvodina Discusses Constitutionality of the Current Competition Act

Photo courtesy of Aleksandar Milutinović, photographer On October 4, 2017, the Bar Association of Vojvodina (BAV) held a panel in Novi Sad (city known as Serbian Athens) on the topic, “The proceedings of the Commission for Protection of Competition (Commission) against the Bar Association of Serbia (BAS), possible implications for the BAV and constitutional challenges against the Protection of Competition Act”.  The speakers on this complex and news-worthy topic were Isidora Nikolić Savin, attorney and specialist for civil and EU business law, and Bogdan Gecić, partner at Gecić Law. Great attendance and interest by attorneys and associates specialized in various fields […]

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03 Oct, 2017

Famous Trust Buster That Took on Delta, First President & NCA Founder Speaks Up Against the Serbian Antitrust Watchdog

The trust buster himself, President Theodore Roosevelt, looks on as a trust is squeezed by Treasury Secretary George B. Cortelyou Illustration by Udo J. Keppler, courtesy of Library of Congress In 2015, Professor Dijana Marković Bajalović, one of the founders and  renowned presidents of the National Competition Authority (NCA), and country’s most respected trust-buster – during her tenure at the NCA, Professor Bajalović took on Delta, for illegal takeover of C Market, and other major incumbents, a feat unheard off at the time (and was eventually removed from office in 2010) – along with others, filed a constitutional challenge against the Protection […]

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22 Sep, 2017

Challenges Against Croatia by Agrokor’s Ex-Owner?

For the first time since Agrokor—one of the leading regional companies with almost 60,000 employees, became the biggest national news in the Balkans for facing liquidity issues—former Agrokor owner, Ivica Todoric, broke his silence, claiming he gave up control “under duress” and that “this is not Parmalat” indicating a potential and broader legal battle against the Croatian state on multiple fronts?  Possible ramifications may include EU law, state aid & competition issues, constitutional claims, ECHR and even more.  The extensive public announcement issued today and signed by Mr. Todoric points to “an unconstitutional and illegal nationalization” and states he “will […]

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15 Sep, 2017

Serbia and Montenegro: state aid spotlight on corporate profit tax

Both Serbia and Montenegro have come under pressure from the European Commission to amend their respective Corporate Profit Tax Acts to bring tax incentives in line with EU law. This update provides a closer look and analysis, which suggests that amendments are an option worth considering for both Serbia and Montenegro. However, any such legislative change would need to be implemented in a manner that takes into account the interests of all stakeholders, including the interests of investors benefiting from the existing incentive schemes. The European Commission in Chapter 8 of its Screening Report for Serbia, emphasized that specific aid […]

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05 Sep, 2017

When sharing is not caring: exchange of information in M&A transactions and Serbian competition law

This update considers how exchange of information, as an essential part of any M&A transaction (from pre-acquisition discussions, through the due diligence procedure, and up to the closing of the transaction), may cause significant competition concerns under the Serbian Competition Act in terms of potential collusion between competitors. The prohibition on entering into restrictive agreements under the current Serbian Competition Act (CA) applies, as a general rule, to sharing of commercially sensitive information between undertakings. Relevant provisions of the CA prohibit contracts, certain contract provisions, express or tacit agreements, concerted practices, as well as decisions of undertakings associations which have […]

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02 Sep, 2017

Serbian Chamber of Commerce Proposes Total Revamp of Serbian Competition Law?

Recent developments in Serbia, in particular an unprecedented number of hastily opened investigations and Competition Commission’s push for a complete revamp of the competition act, discussed in a recent PLC article “The Dawn of Dawn Raids or the Twilight of Due Process in Serbia?”, raised many eyebrows and prompted significant dissent from both public and private stakeholders.  The widespread dissent took an interesting twist on August 21, 2017 when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (hereinafter: the Chamber of Commerce) issued an invitation for consultations to the members of its Assembly and Managing Board re the application and […]

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10 Jul, 2017

The Dawn of Dawn Raids or the Twilight of Due Process in Serbia?

During the last ten days of May 2017, Serbian competition authority has hastily opened an unprecedented number of investigations.  Simultaneously, the authority announced a push for a complete revamp of the competition act.  Reviewing these developments through the lens of the New Administrative Act, which came into force on 1 June 2017, a strong argument can be made that behind these actions is a desire to circumvent the robust human rights safeguards introduced by the New Administrative Act and guaranteed under the ECHR and the Serbian Constitution. During the last ten days of May, the Commission for Protection of Competition of […]

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07 Jul, 2017

Frikom, Leading Ice-cream Manufacturer, Under the Loupe of Serbia’s Commission for Protection of Competition for the Second Time

On 29 May 2017, the Serbian Competition Commission initiated ex officio proceedings for the alleged abuse of dominance against Frikom, the largest producer of frozen food in Serbia. The day following the initiation of proceedings, a dawn raid at Frikom’s business premises was carried out. Frikom’s abuse of dominance history This is not the first time the Serbian National Competition Authority (NCA) initiated a proceeding against Frikom. In 2012, the NCA found that Frikom abused its dominance in the wholesale market of industrial ice-cream by engaging in vertical price-fixing, imposing exclusivity on retailers (either through explicit exclusivity clauses or through […]

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04 Jul, 2017

Amendments to the Serbian Criminal Code: Restrictive Agreements

One of the amendments to the Serbian Criminal Code (the Code) that will take effect on 1 March 2018 is a new criminal offence for restrictive agreements. Antitrust law has been criminalized in Serbia for decades. So what may be the underlying intention behind these new amendments? In one word: Focus.  The Code does away with abuse of dominance and targets only restrictive agreements.  But it does not stop there.  The new provision is not only narrower than its predecessor but also than the general prohibition on restrictive agreements found in the Serbian Act on Protection of Competition (the Competition […]

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