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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on competition law in Austria

Joint statement by the European Competition Network (ECN)

Today, 23 March 2020, the European Competition Network (ECN) published a Joint Statement by all European competition authorities on the uniform application of competition law during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Through the ECN, national competition authorities in the EU Member States cooperate closely with each other and the European Commission.

Companies are currently facing huge economic challenges as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). Competition rules can also be a helpful tool in these circumstances.

Necessary cooperation to avoid shortages of supply or products

The current situation may make it necessary for companies to cooperate in order to ensure a continued chain of supply and avoid shortages of scarce products. It is assumed that such temporary cooperation measures to guarantee supplies during the COVID-19 health emergency will be taken, where necessary, after appropriately involving consumers and in order to improve the production or distribution of goods. This concerns in particular any measures that are effective until 13 April 2020.

AFCA prioritises complaints about health products to fight coronavirus

Products designed to protect health (e.g. face masks, sanitising gels, PPE etc.) must continue to be made available on a non-discriminatory basis. The AFCA will therefore look into each individual allegation of excessive prices, artificially induced scarcity of supply, cartel agreements or any other abuse of a dominant position in this regard. You can file complaints by post, e-mail or fax using our downloadable form (in German), or by using the Authority’s Whistleblowing System (available in German and English). We will give these complaints utmost priority.

AFCA reachable any time

The AFCA continues to be available for any competition-related queries from companies. Please get in touch electronically: contact our Managing Director Peter Matousek using his e-mail address peter.matousek[at]bwb.gv.at or his deputy/Head of Legal Service Natalie Harsdorf using her e-mail address natalie.harsdorf[at]bwb.gv.at.