Duties of the Austrian Competition Authority

The tasks of the Federal Competition Authority arise from both national law (particularly the Competition Act and the Cartel Act) and European competition law. The BWB collaborates with the Federal Cartel Prosecutor and regulators to fulfill its tasks.

How can the Austrian Federal Competition Authority ensure a functioning competition?

  • Prosecution of violations of the cartel prohibition or abuse of market power

• Examination of mergers

• Conducting sector inquiries

• Investigations such as interrogations, requests for information, dawn raids

• Applications to the Cartel Court (examination, determination, cessation, as well as requests for commitments and fine applications)

• injunction claims under the Unfair Competition Act before civil courts

• Participation in the preliminary examination procedure according to § 6 ORF Law, if the ORF wishes to introduce a new offer

• Right to bring actions under the Platform-to-Business Regulation (P2B Regulation)

• Monitoring of interbank fees

• General inquiries into an industry, if circumstances suggest a disregard of the obligation to pass on tax reductions according to § 7 Price Act

• Conducting competition monitoring

  • Issuing opinions on general competition policy issues, especially within the framework of legislative procedures and in the implementation of competition law, as well as on questions of competition law and competition policy
  • Providing assistance to courts and administrative authorities as well as to the European Commission and the competition authorities of other EU Member States.

In order to effectively ensure the accomplishment of its tasks, BWB has the following powers:

  • Request information from companies and associations of companies,
  • Access to business documents and records including the right to make copies and/or transcripts,
  • Carry out searches of business premises (after a warrant has been issued by the President of the Chamber of the Cartel Court) – if necessary with the help of public security officers – if there are substantial grounds for assuming severe violations of Antitrust Law or Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and to support the European Commission and Competition Authorities of the other EU Member States in their investigations,

Sections 6 et seq. of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation Act (ORF-Gesetz) attributes the following powers to BWB:

  • Act as a party in order to safeguard competition
  • File a complaint against a decision of the regulatory authority with the Austrian Administrative Court

BWB must also be notified about proposed mergers.