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22 March 2012
In signing stabilisation and association agreements, the candidate countries of the former Yugoslavia recognised "the importance of the approximation of the existing legislation to that of the Community and of its effective implementation". (1) The European Union signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 16 2008, defining mutual rights and obligations and establishing a free trade zone and setting the basis for a legislation harmonisation process. At present, the Competition Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina is busy working on translating and harmonising existing legislation with the Community acquis. The Competition Authority demonstrated good faith by declaring the harmonisation of national legislation with the EU competition regime as one of its goals. The EU Integration Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina seems to have undertaken the task of translating EU legislation into the local language and local legislation into English. However, the progress is not yet visible.
The 2011 Commission Staff Working Paper – Bosnia and Herzegovina 2011 Progress Report (2) concluded: "Overall, preparations in the area of competition remain at an early stage." In recent years, some progress has been recorded in the area of antitrust. The Competition Act is mostly in line with the EU acquis, but needs further alignment. Over the past six years, the Competition Authority's activities have focused primarily on mergers and abuses of dominant market position.
The progress report points out that the administrative capacity of the Competition Authority (with a total number of 26 staff) appears insufficient in carrying out the tasks assigned to it. The staff needs further training in order to increase the authority's investigative capacity. According to the 2010 Annual Report, (3) at institutional level the capacity of the Competition Authority has been strengthened through the creation of several new positions and the hire of new officers. Additional competition and legal experts, as well as an internal translator, have been hired. Also, new council members were appointed in 2010, as previous members' mandates expired in May 2010. The 2011 Annual Report has not yet been published.
For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijević at Moravčević Vojnović i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00), fax (+381 11 320 26 10) or email (email@example.com).
(1) Please see http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/candidate-countries/index_en.htm.
(2) Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2011–2012, Commission Staff Working Paper, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2011 Progress Report, October 12 2011, page 38, available at http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2011/package/ba_rapport_2011_en.pdf.
(3) The 2010 Annual Report (in Serbian) is available on the Council's website at http://www.bihkonk.gov.ba/ba/index.html.
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