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22 October 2020
On 23 September 2020 the Slovenian government decided that price control measures in the field of fuel products are no longer necessary, meaning that the retail fuel market will be fully liberalised from October 2020.
Slovenia was the last EU member state to administer retail fuel prices. The first steps towards full liberalisation were taken in 2016, when the government liberalised the prices of premium petroleum and heating oil. Regular petrol and diesel remained subject to administered prices.
The Ministry of Economy is convinced that now is the best time for such a measure, since global oil prices are low and increasing trading margins will have a minimal effect on the increase of retail prices.
Expected developments include the following:
Following deregulation, fair competition in the fuel market will be ensured through Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and its Slovenian equivalents and Articles 6 and 9 of the Prevention of Restriction of Competition Act, which prohibit anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominance in the market.
In general, any agreements or concerted practices which are aimed at or have the effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in Slovenia are prohibited.
Concrete examples of anti-competitive behaviour include:
In the road fuel sector, parallel pricing, price cycling patterns and 'rockets and feathers' pricing (ie, asymmetrical adjustment of retail prices to changes in commodity prices) all raise suspicions and may prompt action by the Competition Protection Agency.
The agency is following the fuel market closely, having carried out a sector inquiry into the market in 2017, when there were indications that it was not functioning as well as it should and that competition breaches may have been a contributing factor.(1)
The government instructed the Ministry of Economy to monitor and analyse the formation of fuel prices based on oil prices on the global market and report the data to the Ministry of Finance for 14-day periods.
In justified cases, the government reserves the right to (re)apply the price control measures, as provided by the Price Control Act. Such a price control measure is extraordinary in nature and can last for a maximum of one year.
For further information on this topic please contact Eva Škufca, Lea Avsenik or Maks David Osojnik at Schoenherr by telephone (+386 1 200 09 80) or email (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Schoenherr website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.eu.
(1) The report is available here (in Slovenian).
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