INTERNATIONAL: ALBANIA - INTRODUCTION OF COMPETITION LAW - DECEMBER 2003 - LEGAL FRAMEWORK - NEW INDEPENDENT COMPETITION AUTHORITY - AGREEMENTS - ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION - MERGER CONTROL - PROCEDURE - INVESTIGATIVE POWERS - SANCTIONS - COURTS - CONSUMERS

Albania: Introducing competition law

Albania is in the initial phase of enforcing the new law on the protection of competition entered into force in December 2003. The new law improves the legal framework by introducing a new independent competition authority and detailed rules on agreements, on abuse of dominant position and merger control, and on procedure. It also provides for broad investigative powers for the Competition Authority and sanctions in case of infringements of the law. The implementation of the law reveals itself promising, with a number of important and difficult decisions taken by the Albanian Competition Authority, and with the courts reacting positively toward its decision making practice. The enforcement of the law remains a difficult task, but it is the only way to ensure an effective competition policy in the interest of consumers.

1. Albania first adopted the law on the protection of competition in 1995. The law included antitrust rules, unfair competition provisions, and rules on consumer protection. It created the basis for a competition policy in Albania, although it included numerous sectoral exemptions, from banking to forestry, and lacked a proper deterrent mechanism. During the initial period of economic transition from a central planning economy to a free market, Albania was guided by the principles of the Washington Consensus, which gave little weight to competition policy. The main objective was to open the market, privatise state companies and maintain a macroeconomic stability. It was apparent that the first law was guided by what can be called a “step-by-step approach”, which aimed to introduce basic

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Pranvera Këllezi, Albania: Introducing competition law, May 2009, Concurrences N° 2-2009, Art. N° 25833, www.concurrences.com

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