Historical overview of competition in Albania
Historical overview of competition in Albania the birth and development of competition policy in our country has its origins in the birth of the market economy, when, along with it, competition and the interest of the government to create conditions for effective competition began to come to life. The state is an important actor in creation and protection of competition. With the establishment, in 1991, of political pluralism and the transition from a centralized economy to a market economy, a series of structural reforms were undertaken in our country for the orientation towards a market economy. Special attention was paid to privatization, deregulation of economic activities, price and trade liberalization, domestic and foreign, exchange rate liberalization, allowing and guaranteeing foreign investments, reforming the banking and financial system, determining market interest rates, the establishment of a tax system, etc. Thus the market economy was created, which means the independence of economic agents, their ability to decide independently on their economic activity, ie free enterprise.
But along with the economic freedom of enterprises, the dangers of anti-competitive practices began to emerge. As everywhere, in our country, the main sources of these threats have been (i) public rules and administrative and bureaucratic implementation of these rules and (ii) the behavior of actors in the market. On December 7, 1995, law no. 8044 “On competition”, which closes the phase of institutionalization of competition policy in our country. The main direction of state policy in this period was to create conditions for the best and most complete operation of free competition. The law dealt with issues related to monopolies and dominant position, as well as those of unfair competition.
The adoption of the law “On Competition” enabled the establishment of the first structure for competition, that of the Directorate of Economic Competition at the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, and the Competition Commission, which consisted of five members, appointed by the Minister covering Trade . The law dealt with issues related to monopolies, dominant position, and those of unfair competition. During its implementation, a number of problems were encountered that had not been resolved in this law. Thus, the need for legal and institutional changes in the field of competition became clear. Despite the developments in competition law, it was found that the relevant legislation had shortcomings and was far from EU competition legislation, institutions and policies. To fill this gap, Law 9121, dated 28.07.2003, was adopted. “For the protection of competition”.
The Competition Authority is the public institution charged by law to protect free and effective competition in Albania. This institution aims to protect competition itself, as a public good. In this way the protection of effective competition serves the public interest. This law is applicable in all sectors of the economy, as well as for all enterprises, private and state, operating in the territory of the Republic of Albania, as well as for enterprises operating outside this territory, but the consequences of its felt in the domestic market. The work of the Competition Authority is based on three main pillars that define the protection of competition:
• prohibited agreements (cartels);
• abuse of a dominant position;
• mergers or acquisitions of enterprises.
Another task of this institution is to act as a promoter and advocate of competition and consumer interests, as well as to evaluate various normative acts that may affect competition. An important aspect of the current competition law is the right of every person to go directly to court if they are hindered in their activity by a prohibited agreement or an abusive practice. According to the law, these persons can be addressed to the Court of Tirana by means of a lawsuit, despite the fact that a procedure has been initiated with the Authority. In this way, interested parties have two options: to complain to the Competition Authority or to file a lawsuit with the Court of Tirana.