On 20th February 2015, the Italian Government proposed its annual Antitrust Draft Law (the “Draft”), containing provisions aimed to drive certain Italian markets towards free competition. This Draft follows recommendations by the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”), in July 2014.
The legislative provisions contained in the Draft can be summarised as follows:
(i) “RC” Auto Insurance
The Draft requires insurance companies to apply serious discounts to drivers accepting certain contractual clauses aimed at saving costs and fighting fraud and related crimes. In return for their lower insurance, the drivers will have to install a ‘black box’ system and a blood-alcohol level detector on the insured vehicle, consent to inspections relating to those items and go to selected repairers after a car accident.
Further, the Draft introduces the right for the drivers to terminate the ancillary insurance on the vehicle once the principal policy is terminated.
(ii) Pension Funds
The Draft makes workers’ pension fund fully portable and eliminates the possibility to insert in national labour contracts, obstacles impeding workers to decide freely where to invest their own pension assurance contributions.
(iii) Mobile Contracts
The Draft simplifies the procedure for client identification in order to facilitate a change of mobile operators and make early termination clauses more transparent.
(iv) Public Postal Service
The Draft intends to eliminate the monopoly enjoyed by Poste Italiane S.p.A., the national incumbent, regarding the delivery of judicial documents.
(v) Energy Markets
As of the year 2018, the standard contractual agreement used to supply energy to household shall be eliminated, in the hope of encouraging new energy companies to enter the relevant market.
(vi) Banking Sector
The new provisions shall make it easier to close a consumer bank account and the costs for telephone calls for assistance will not be higher than those applied to consumer for local calls. Further, banks will have to create a website able to guarantee transparency about ancillary insurance agreements.
The Draft will allow the setting up of multi-professional companies for providing legal services. Further, lawyers shall be obliged to give a cost estimate to their clients at the beginning of the professional relationship.
The number of occasions requiring legal deeds to be drafted by a public Notary will be reduced. In particular, lawyers and accountants will be able to draw up real estate transactions having a value up to € 100,000 as long as they are not for residential use.
(ix) Engineering Companies
Engineering Companies will be able to enter into agreements with private clients, repealing old Italian legislation.
The Draft permits one individual to hold more than four licenses and pharmacy businesses will be able to have equity shareholders.
In our view, the Draft is welcome as (if enacted by the Italian Parliament) it can help render more competitive some Italian sectors which have been very close to open over the last twenty years, such as the energy market. However, as history has proved so far, the current provisions of the law are very unlikely to be approved by the Parliament in their current state.