A review of the Commission for Protection of Competition's recent practice reveals that in the last quarter of 2011 and early 2012 the commission extensively used its new power to impose monetary fines. This power was granted to the commission in November 2009 and was first used at the beginning of 2011. Below is an overview of the fines imposed by the commission from October 2011 to date (all of them relate to infringements, such as abuse of dominance and restrictive agreements). The total amount of the fines imposed so far by the commission is approximately €33 million.

 

Commission decision

Fined entities by sector

Fine in
€ million(1)

Decision 4/0-02-291/2011-8, November 24 2011 Bus transportation case
(Lasta v Evropa Bus)
1.11
Decision 4/0-02-14/11-12, May 26 2011 Food retail chain & food producer case (Idea v Grand Prom) 6.7
Decision 5/0-03-92/2011-1, January 27 2011 Cemetery case
(Gradsko groblje)
0.02
Decision 4/0-02-49/2011-03, March 17 2011 Veterinary Chamber case
(Veterinarska komora)
0.01
Decision 5/0-02-43/2011, January 24 2011 Milk producers case
(Implek v Mlekara)
3.1
Decision 4/0-02-629/2011-44, December 23 2011 Association of Insurers 4.66
Decision 4/0-02-629/2011-44, December 23 2011 Individual insurance companies 3.54
Decision 4/0-02-646/2011-23, December 29 2011 Insurance case (Takovo v Uniqa v AC osiguranje) 0.26
Decision 4/0-02-56/2012-06, January 26 2012 Pharmaceutical sector case 13.9

 

The last three cases listed above confirm the commission's controversial stand that:

  • it is possible to apply the Competition Law (applicable since November 2009) to cases that were initiated before this law came into force (ie, retroactive application of the law); and
  • the statute limitation deadlines have not passed, where the infringement took place over three years ago.

This approach has been highly disputed in the Serbian legal community and criticised by legal experts. Nevertheless, it was further confirmed by the Administrative Court. It is believed that these issues will be debated before both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court before they are finally resolved.

For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijevic at Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00), fax (+381 11 320 26 10) or email (s.petronijevic@schoenherr.rs).

Endnotes

(1) For ease of reference, the amounts are shown as approximate amounts in euro, although fines are levied in Serbian dinar.