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PR(94)02: First decision on competition policy guarantees uniform application

27.9.2002

  In its first decision in the field of competition policy, the EFTA Surveillance Authority today adopted ten notices and guidelines, corresponding to existing European Commission acts. Among others, they include the well known "de minimis" notice, defining agreements of minor importance for which the EEA competition rules normally do not apply. They also include notices on exclusive distribution agreements.

With the implementation of the European Economic Area (EEA), companies in 17 European States will meet a homogeneous competition regime. Two authorities share the responsibility for the handling of competition cases, the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

The procedures applied by the Authority are a mirror‑image of those of the Commission. Formal procedural rules have been laid down in a special agreement between the five EFTA States participating in the EEA. In addition, the Authority has been empowered to issue notices and guidelines in the field of competition, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the EEA Agreement.

'Companies operating on the European market should be entitled to meet a level playing field", says Nic Grönvall, Member of the Authority in charge of competition policy. Identical competition rules in the whole EEA market are an important first step, but the rules also have to be applied in the same way. The two referees, the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority, will co‑operate closely. It should therefore make no difference to companies whether their cases are handled by the Commission or the Authority."

The notices and guidelines can be obtained from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (Tina Bäckström, Tel. 22 66 862).

 For further information please contact:

 Klaus Pendl

Press and Information Officer

Tel. 22 66 882

 




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