Over the last 25 years competition law has evolved and become a complex field of law in Hungary. From time to time, the application of, and compliance with, competition law raise a number of questions. In the First Hungarian Competition Law Forum, the most prominent experts in this field shared their views on the recent issues arising in the area of competition law.
At the first of what was intended to mark the beginning of a new tradition of such conferences, Miklós Juhász, the President of the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) highlighted in his opening speech that the GVH is as interested as the market participants themselves in creating an environment where law-abiding behaviour ensures fair competition; furthermore he emphasised that this endeavour would be supported by the competition authority in accordance with the law. He stated that in order to achieve the above-mentioned goals and to create a more client-friendly operation at the GVH, the latter has initiated competition law amendments, continuously supervised its notices and guidance and facilitated a wider dissemination and greater understanding of competition law rules among both the business community and the general public.
In his speech, Zoltán Hegymegi-Barakonyi, the President of the Hungarian Competition Law Association emphasised the importance of the development of a culture of competition: he considers the further improvement of the compliance of small and medium-sized enterprises as the most difficult challenge. Through the introduction of international practice, he presented that compliance programmes which are more simple but similar to the ones of bigger competitors are needed for assuring the compliance of small-sized undertakings with few resources.
The introductory presentation of the conference by Pál Csiszár, director of the Directorate-General of the European Commission dealt with the current practice relating to merger control on oligopolistic markets.
Further topics of the conference concerned the significant recent developments. The guest of honour of the Competition Law Forum was the Emeritus Professor Richard Whish, an esteemed legal academic at King’s College London. Along with a member of the Competition Council and other prominent lawyers, he took part in the panel tasked with discussing exchange of information cases. The same panel discussed the liability questions arising in regards to the undertakings participating in a cartel. Through the use of practical examples, the panel members presented the types of information and data, which although prohibited by competition law, tend to be exchanged in merger takeovers and in horizontal and vertical agreements. They also touched upon liability issues in relation to cartel members acting as contributors or helpers in cases involving fundamental rights, taking into account the decisions of the Hungarian (concrete cartel, pharma cartel) and other EU Member States’ competition law authorities.
With the participation of András György Kovács, the President of the chamber of the Curia and András Tóth, the head of the Competition Council the following panel discussed the recent developments relating to the judicial review of administrative decisions. Krisztina Rozsnyai, the Ministerial Commissioner of the Ministry of Justice offered an insight into the background of the amendments of the Act on Administrative Procedures (Ket).
The afternoon panel discussed recent developments in the area of private enforcement from the perspectives of the legislative, the administrative and the judicial branches, the perspective of legal representatives, and the transposition of the Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions into Hungarian law. The conference concluded with the corporate community, the Hungarian Competition Authority and the Hungarian Competition Law Association sharing their perspectives.
During the conference’s breaks participants were able to view the exhibition of the legal history research that was commissioned by the GVH on Act XX of 1931, which contained the early competition law rules and institutional design.
The presentations of the First Hungarian Competition law Forum are available on the website of the GVH.
Budapest, 14 June 2016
Hungarian Competition Authority
Alkotmány u. 5., H-1054 Budapest,
Tel: +36 1 4728902
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