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28 April 2011
On March 8 2011 the act amending the Competition Act was published in the Official Gazette. The new act will enter into force on April 23 2011 and will bring about the long-awaited reorganisation of the Competition Authority (currently organised as an administrative body within the Ministry for Economic Affairs) as an independent agency.
According to the new act, the Competition Authority will become independent from the executive branch (in the same way as, under the existing constellation, the Ministry for Economic Affairs does not have the power to influence directly the decisions of the authority). The amending act foresees that the authority will be governed by three bodies:
The amending act prohibits officials from the executive, legislative or judicial branch from being appointed as members of any of the three bodies.
The Agency Council will consist of five members, appointed by the government for a term of five years (so as to not overlap with the usual four-year Parliament and government term). A president will be elected by the members from among themselves. Among other things, the Agency Council will be entrusted with the following tasks:
The Agency Council will adopt decisions by way of a simple majority. In the event of a tied vote, the president of the agency will have the casting vote.
The Competition Council will consist of five members, appointed by the Parliament for a term of five years. Four of the member candidates will be selected by the government (three from among the employees of the Competition Authority and one from among external competition experts); one member candidate will be selected by the Judicial Council (a body generally entrusted with appointments in the judicial branch) from among external competition experts.
The Competition Council will be entrusted with issuing decisions in individual cases. The decisions will be adopted by three-member panels (randomly constituted from among the members of the Competition Council on an ad hoc basis) by way of a simple majority vote.
The agency director will be appointed by the Slovenian government for a term of five years. The pool of candidates will be selected on the basis of a public tender; the winning candidate will be proposed to the government by the Agency Council. The director's main tasks will be:
The director will be unable to issue decisions on the merits, but will be able to decide on certain procedural matters.
The authority will have two principal sources of funding:
A funding solution set forth in one of the previous amendment proposals (financing through a portion of penalties imposed by the authority) was ultimately not adopted.
According to the new act, the members of the Agency Council and of the Competition Council should be nominated by the end of October 2011. The Competition Agency will commence operation on January 1 2012.
For further information on this topic please contact Vid Kobe at Schönherr Slovenia in cooperation with Filipov Petrovic Jeraj in partnerji op doo by telephone (+386 1 2000 980), fax (+386 1 4260 711) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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