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GCR Rating Enforcement 2021: AFCA again among top enforcers globally

Every year Global Competition Review (GCR) publishes a ranking of the world’s competition authorities. GCR is an internationally renowned source of information on competition policy and antitrust enforcement. Its rankings are based on investigation proceedings and decisions related to the prosecution of antitrust breaches and market abuse as well as efforts in merger control. Further criteria used for the rankings are staff levels and available budgets. Additionally, experts are asked to evaluate national enforcers’ performance from a practical perspective.

AFCA again one of the top competition authorities

The AFCA was again awarded 3.5 out of five stars in the 2021 ranking for its performance, thus maintaining its top ranking of previous years.

The Austrian authority shares its 3.5 star ranking with the competition authorities in Canada, Chile, Greece, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Singapore and Spain. The European Commission (Directorate-General for Competition), France, Germany and the USA took first place with 5 stars each.

The GCR’s annual survey again highlighted that the AFCA had the lowest budget and the smallest number of staff of any European competition authority. However, the Authority’s performance was still found to be outstanding and of consistently high quality.

The GCR experts also praised the AFCA’s quick response to coronavirus management and its very rapid introduction of a system enabling companies to submit their merger notifications electronically.

The GCR’s Rating Enforcement confirms that we are on the right path. Despite having much fewer staff and a smaller budget, we perform in the top league, which proves that we’re getting things right.

I’d like to express my special thanks to my staff without whom we would not be where we are today.
We will continue in this vein in future, promoting and upholding competition in Austria and Europe,”
commented Theodor Thanner, Director General for Competition.

Quotes from the report:

Austrian Federal Competition Authority is the smallest in Europe to feature in Rating Enforcement. However, that doesn’t stop it from managing an impressive workload.

Not only that, but the quality of its analysis in merger reviews and behavioural probes is also complimented by local lawyers, who believe that the agency’s modest size is counterbalanced by the quality of its case handlers.

Away from enforcement, the agency is highly regarded by lawyers for its advocacy work. In 2020, it published papers on how it would analyse mergers during the pandemic; the challenges that digitalisation poses for competition law; and how it is monitoring communication platforms and digital gatekeepers to tackle weakening competition in online markets, in collaboration with the communications regulator.