European Policy Centre (CEP) organised today in the National Assembly of Serbia public discussion on the occasion of presenting the draft study “Competition Policy in Serbia – what is the problem?”. The aim of this meeting was the inclusion of the conclusions and recommendations of the experts and the professional community in the final version of the study.
In his opening speech, Nebojsa Lazarevic, director of CEP, pointed out that we can’t have productive discussion about competition policy, if we don’t put it in the context of European integration: “If our goal is not mere membership, but to become successful and credible member that provides full contribution to the European arena and achieves full benefits of membership, it is important to have a market economy that is capable to withstand the pressure on the EU market.”
Aleksandra Tomic, president of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy has indicated that it is important that such meetings in the future become a regular practice in the work of Parliament and the Committee. “Certainly there are problems, and certainly we are facing many harmonization in this area on the path of EU integration, but without civil society we wouldn’t have strength to carry out and achieve this kind of system of information and notifications that we have in the form of these reports and studies.”
Commission for the Protection of the Competition has realized an objective critical approach of this study, recognized these problems and expressed willingness to cooperate, noted Miloje Obradovic, the president of this institution, adding that: “The Commission has a key role in the effective implementation of the Law on Protection of Competition”, and that this is “the first institution of its kind in Serbia, whose organization and operation are based on European Union standards.”
Vesna Kovac, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Communications and Chair of the Negotiating Group 8, which covers competition law, concluded that: “The Republic of Serbia has a comprehensive legal framework, independent and functional institution that possesses the mechanisms for enforcing the rules of competition, but proper and effective implementation of competition rules is still before us.”
Dusan Protic, program manager of CEP, presented the main findings of the research that preceded the study and pointed that it still has a lot of space for improvement of competition policy in Serbia. Summarizing the findings, Protic pointed out that one of the central issues of competition policy in Serbia is the capacity of the institutions that are applying the rules of competition, because their practice has a crucial influence on the situation in this area. An adequate legal framework is the first and necessary, but not sufficient condition for success, because only consistent, argumented decisions based on sound economic analysis, are paving the path that can be followed by all the conscientious participants in the market, that ensures the effective prevention of competition violation.
Representatives of authorized institutions and civil society organizations, as well as the experts in this field participated in the discussion, contributed to the drafting of the final text of the study, and therefore the improvement of competition policy in Serbia.