Protection mechanisms in the field of competition
Protection mechanisms in the field of competition in accordance with the requirements of the Law “On Protection of Competition”, in February 2004, the procedures for the election of members and chairman of the Competition Commission were completed, based on the proposals of the Albanian Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the President. With this act, from 26.02.2004, the Competition Authority officially started its activity, as an independent public institution, responsible for the control of the implementation of the competition rules. It consists of the Competition Commission, as the decision-making body and the Secretariat, as the executive body. The Competition Commission acts as a permanent structure and has all the necessary powers to make decisions on its own initiative on issues that limit, hinder or distort competition in the market, both for private and public enterprises, as well as propose the necessary measures to protect free and effective competition.
The Competition Commission submits to the Assembly the annual work report of the Authority. In order to properly exercise its legal competencies, the Authority has sought to have sufficient staff and expertise, and has intended to enable their effective engagement. However, the practice of these years has shown that, in terms of strengthening institutional capacity,administrative and professional. From the analysis of the activity of the Competition Authority it can be concluded that the existence of a contemporary competition law or of a Competition Authority as an independent body are not sufficient conditions for the effective implementation of competition law and policy.
This necessitates the strengthening of the institutional and professional capacities of the Competition Authority, to play an active role in the rigorous and effective implementation of the law on protection of competition and to be an advocate for the development of economic reforms according to the principles of competition.
The guiding principles, on the basis of which the law, national policy and the activity of the Albanian Competition Authority are realized, are: Equality Applying the principles of competition in such a way that does not allow discrimination of economic enterprises in the same circumstances. Inclusion Inclusion implies a broad application of regulatory and competition principles in economic activities, including goods, services, private and public business activities, recognition of the extent of competition in development policies and reforms affecting the efficient functioning of markets, protecting the competition process and creating and maintaining an environment for free and effective competition. Competitive markets also require a good overall legal framework, clear property rights and a non-discriminatory, efficient and effective environment.
Transparency In the exercise of its activity, the Competition Authority must be open, indicating the reasons for the decisions taken, as well as constantly informing about the activity and the results achieved. CA responds to the public through annual reporting to the Assembly, statements and press releases on the website, press conferences, etc. (iv) Accountability Clear administration responsibility is required to enforce competition and efficiency rules in policy development and administration.
The Competition Authority will act in accordance with national and sect-oral strategies of economic and social development, in order to increase the well-being of citizens. (v) A credible institution The activity of the institution will establish credibility for the veracity of statements and decisions, based on ongoing studies and taking into account the opinions of market actors. Authority i The competition acts on the principle of honesty, makes decisions and publishes accurate data on its activity. (vi) An institution with integrity The institution must not place itself in financial or other liabilities that may adversely affect or impede its performance of its essential tasks. The Competition Authority explains annually before the Assembly the use of financial resources allocated from the state budget, as well as maintains accurate financial reports, which are controlled by the Supreme State Audit (vii) A cooperating institution The work of the institution is based on the principle of cooperation with all market actors and factors, with constitutional institutions, government, regulatory bodies, consumer representatives, regional counterpart institutions, as well as with the Directorate General for Competition in the European Commission.
The Law on Protection of Competition aims to achieve the objective of free and effective competition in the market, acting mainly on artificial barriers that increase the market power of the enterprise, leading to restrictions on competition. Likewise acts against abusive behaviors and concentrations to create or strengthen a dominant position, leading to rising consumer prices, limiting production and product choice, limiting innovation, customer service and, in general, reducing well-being of the consumer.
One of the main tools in law enforcement and increasing the role of the Competition Authority for the protection of free competition in the market, is the penalization of companies for violations of the law. Fines are divided into two categories:
a) Fines for minor violations, where the amount of the fine ranges from 0.1 -1% of the total turnover of the previous financial year. This includes all procedural violations, such as refusing to provide information or providing inaccurate information.
b) Fines for serious violations, where the amount of the fine ranges from 2 to 10% of the total turnover of the previous financial year.
This includes violations of enterprises, such as horizontal restrictions through cartel agreements aimed at fixing prices, production or sales quotas, market sharing, and other unfair trading conditions, reduction of imports or exports and other practices, which jeopardize the functioning of the market itself. This includes the abuse of a dominant position (refusal to supply, discrimination, exclusion, significant price reductions), made by a dominant company to exclude competitors from the market.