The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal - GVH; its English name used in the early years of operation was Office of Economic Competition) was established by Act LXXXVI of 1990 on the prohibition of unfair market practices, and started its operation on 1 January 1991. The enactment of the prohibition of anticompetitive behaviour and the setting up of the authority was motivated by the will of protecting the freedom and fairness of competition.
The Competition Act, which is currently in force, is Act LVII of 1996 on the prohibition of unfair and restrictive market practices. The Act entered into force on 1 January 1997. Besides the provisions on competition, the Act determines the legal status of the Authority and regulates its basic structure and operation, further, the procedures, which it conducts. By Hungary's accession to the European Union, the GVH became a member of the European Competition Network that consists of the national competition authorities of the EU Member States and the DG Competition of the European Commission. As from the same time, the GVH is required to apply EC competition law under certain conditions.
The task of the GVH in relation to the fairness and freedom of competition is to enforce the competition rules for the benefit of the public in a way, which increases long-term consumer welfare and competitiveness at the same time. Furthermore, it promotes competition in general and, where no competition exists on the market, the GVH endeavours to create competition and promotes appropriate state regulation to be put in place.
The activities of the GVH in connection with the safeguarding of competition rest on the following three pillars. 1) competition supervision proceedings - the enforcement of the national and the Community competition law; 2) competition advocacy - the GVH tries to influence state decisions; 3) competition culture - the objective of the GVH is to contribute to the development of competition culture by the dissemination of knowledge about competition policy, in order to raise public awareness of competition issues, and by the promotion of the development of competition-related legal and economic activities of public interest.
Beyond the safeguarding of competition, the GVH fulfils other law enforcement tasks provided by other legal acts such as the Trade Act.