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The Czech Republic

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2009 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 503 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1746 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1402 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1200 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

The July 1997 Opinion considered that the Czech Republic had made considerable progress in approximating its legislation on restrictive agreements. It also noted the considerable efforts made by the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition in applying the legislation. As for State aid, significant progress had been made especially as regards transparency.

The November 1998 Report, however, concluded that no significant progress had been made either as regards restrictive agreements or as regards State aid.

The October 1999 Report stressed that progress made in state aid control was inadequate. Anti-trust was largely in line with Community acquis.

According to the November 2000 Report, alignment of Czech legislation was very advanced. While antitrust legislation showed little progress, alignment in respect of State aid had progressed significantly following the entry into force of the new law.

The November 2001 Report noted that the new antitrust law came into force in July and stressed that steady progress was being made with regard to State aid. The Czech Republic had tied up most of the legislative loopholes referred to in the 2000 Report, and Czech legislation for the most part is now aligned.

The October 2002 Report found that the Czech Republic had made progress in the area. However, it needed to concentrate its efforts on strengthening implementing measures in relation to State aid.

The November 2003 Report states that antitrust and State aid commitments have been met, but notes that the work carried out to date must be continued with a view to ensuring its effective implementation.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

European Community rules on competition stem from Article 3(g) of the EC Treaty, which states that the activities of the Community shall include "a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted". The main areas of application are restrictive agreements and State aid.

The European Agreement with the Czech Republic, which came into force on 1 February 1995, provides for a competition regime to be applied in trade relations between the Community and the Czech Republic based on the requirements set out in Articles 81, 82 and 87 of the EC Treaty (former Articles 85, 86 and 92) concerning agreements between undertakings, abuses of dominant position and State aid, and for implementing rules in these fields to be adopted within three years of the entry into force of the Agreement.

Furthermore, the Agreement requires the Czech Republic to make its rules on competition compatible with those of the Community.

The White Paper refers to the progressive application of the above provisions and of those contained in the merger Regulation (4064/89) and Articles 31 (ex-Article 37) and 86 (ex-Article 90) concerning monopolies and special rights of the EC Treaty.

EVALUATION

Anti-trust legislation is largely in line with the acquis. The entry into force of a new law on State aid in 2000 and a new antitrust law in July 2001 has closed the remaining loopholes.

The economic competition Bureau has an adequate number of well-trained staff, which is reflected in the efficient application of antitrust legislation. However, this result could be improved by a policy of more severe penalties.

The Czech Republic is aligned with the acquis in the matter. Further efforts should be made in the banking sector and the steel industry. In spite of the transitional arrangement in relation to restructuring of the steel industry from which it benefits until December 2006, the Czech Republic should ensure that no aid is granted which is incompatible with the Protocol on Steel.

Negotiations on this chapter are continuing. In order to prepare successfully for accession, the Czech Republic must now concentrate its efforts in relation to State aid by ensuring more efficient monitoring and surveillance.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 03.03.2004
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