Institutional Framework of the National Competition Authorities in the Central and Eastern European Countries

  • Jurgita Malinauskaite


There are myriad options of institutional settings in the field of competition law and find the optimal institutional design is a complex matter. Many jurisdictions have found success with very different designs and what works well in one country may not always work well in another. There is a wide diversity of institutional designs for the enforcement of competition law in the EU Member States. These are based on country-specific institutional traditions and legacies. While enforcement by multiple authorities with different institutional settings in the same or related cases creates a risk of overlapping and potentially inconsistent action that reduces legal certainty and creates unnecessary costs for businesses, the NCAs are national organs and their institutional design has been a matter of the Member States and their national law due to the principal of procedural and institutional autonomy. Recently many Member States have created “multi-function” agencies by merging the competition authority with the authorities responsible for other economic policy functions, such as consumer protection, sector regulation, technical regulation control or public procurement control, which will be explored in this chapter, namely in the context of the CEE countries. The NCAs (National Competition Authorities) developed in the CEE countries faced tasks unparalleled in the West: to create a competition regime capable of facilitating and enduring the transition from a socialist economy to a market-based one. Initially, the NCAs in most of these countries were structurally part of a ministry or fell under the remit of the government’s supervision, as they had broad oversight responsibilities during the economic reforms of the markets in transition (especially in the context of liberalisation and privatisation). Yet, it was not only about the development of institutions, but also about capacity building and changes in values and thinking. The regulators, who worked under the old regime with responsibility to control prices, had to change almost overnight into the protection of competitive process and adopt to a new system while developing their new regulatory skills.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Jurgita Malinauskaite
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Brunel Law SchoolBrunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.Vytautas Magnus UniversityKaunasLithuania

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