The Agency for Protection of Competition has been established as functionally independent entity with the entry into force of the new Law on Protection of Competition (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro”, no. 44/12) and following registration with the Central Register of Economic Entities in February 2013. Prior to the founding of the Agency the work on competition law and policy was fully under the Ministry of Economy and Directorate within the Ministry.
Agency for Protection of Competition is operating as an institution with public authority, which performs administrative and professional work in the area of competition protection, which includes assessment of restrictive agreements between undertakings, investigation and establishment of potential abuses of dominant position and assessment and control of mergers and acquisitions.
The Agency has already experienced significant changes compared to prior and current situation, where the Agency is enjoying more authority and ability to work in accordance with the needs of the market participants and the market itself.
The Agency shall, within the limits of its powers, in particular:
- Approve exemptions from the prohibition of certain agreements and approve concentrations of undertakings in accordance with the Law on Protection of Competition;
- Take measures against undertakings and associations of undertakings for impairment of competition in the market, or take measures with a view to preventing the occurrence of or terminating the infringement and eliminating harmful effects for undertakings and consumers;
- Provide informal Guidance (Opinions) on interpretation of antitrust regulations (law and bylaws);
- Develop methods for investigating competition concerns;
- Draft bylaws and guidance to be adopted by the Government;
- Monitors and analysis conditions of competition on all markets and perform other duties specified by the Law on Protection of Competition.
In addition to the jurisdiction and authority provided by the Law, the area of competition protection is regulated by a series of regulations, directives and rulebooks, adopted by the Government of Montenegro, as proposed by the Ministry of Economy and enforced by the Agency.
The Agency currently employs 12 civil servants and employees, including the Director, while 6 employees are the actual case handlers.