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Council of Ministers completed draft for modifications to the Cartel and Competition Acts

On June 12, 2012, the Council of Ministers finalized the draft of the new Cartel and Competitions Acts. The draft was handed over to the National Assembly for finalization and ratification.

BWB welcomes the Draft Law

Both the Cartel and Competition Acts had been under evaluation since 2011. With the direction of the BMWFJ and the BMJ, representatives of the Austrian Competition Authority, the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, and the Cartel Court, along with lawyers and social partners planned and developed the current draft. The goal was to construct a more efficient Cartel Act, in order to ensure free, fair and transparent competition in Austria. Thus, the Austrian Competition Authority (BWB) welcomes this draft law.

The Significant Modifications

  • The concept of collective market control by multiple parties was modeled after the German law. These changes should enable easier detection of market power abuses.
  • In order to increase competition in the gas and electricity sectors, and decrease price abuses, an exception was created for energy enterprises, which reverses the burden of proof.
  • Serious Cartel law violations will no longer have the possibility for an exception. This is in accordance with EU law.
  • Opinions of the Cartel Court will be published in the edicts archives.
  • It will be easier for consumers to claim damages that result from a violation of Cartel law.
  • The responsibilities of the Austrian Competition Authority will be improved and modeled after the European Commission. BWB will now be able to demand information directly from enterprises. In addition, the cooperation with other agencies will be improved, in order to improve the efficiency of uncovering competition violations.