New EEA Competition Act in force from 19 May

The EEA Competition Act of 2004 entered into force on 19 May 2005. The Act provides the Norwegian Competition Authority with the competence to apply Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement.

The EEA Competition Act regulates the enforcement in Norway of the competition rules applicable to undertakings of the EEA Agreement. The EEA Competition Act of 2004 replaces the EEA Competition Act of 1992. The new EEA Competition Act was passed along with the new Competition Act in 2004. The Competition Act entered into force on 1 May 2004. The entry into force of the EEA Competition Act of 2004 has awaited inter alia the entry into force of the so-called Modernisation reform in the EEA. Along with the entry into force of the Act, several amendments are made in the accompanying secondary regulations.

The new EEA Competition Act provides the Competition Authority with the competence to apply Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement alongside the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the European Commission. Considering that the prohibitions against agreements restrictive of competition and abuse of a dominant position of Sections 10 and 11 of the Competition Act are nearly identical to Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement, it is not to be expected that the entry into force of the new EEA Competition Act will have great practical consequences for the enforcement of the Competition Authority.

When the new EEA Competition Act was passed in the spring of 2004, and some amendments were made in the fall of 2004, two extensive reforms of the competition rules of the EEA Agreement were anticipated:

  • The implementation of Regulation 1/2003 EC into the EEA Agreement - the so called Modernisation reform
  • The implementation of Regulation 139/2004 EC into the EEA Agreement - the new Merger Regulation

The two regulations entered into force in the EU on 1 May 2004. Most of the new Merger Regulation entered into force in the EEA on 9 June 2004. The Modernisation reform on the other hand did not enter into force in the EEA until 19 May 2005. This explains why the new EEA Competition Act could not enter into force before now.

Those parts of the Merger Regulation, which did not enter into force on 9 June 2004, will not enter into force until 1 July 2005.  As a consequence the amendments made to the EEA Competition Act during the fall of 2004 will not enter into force until 1 July 2005. The relevant provisions allow the Norwegian Competition Authority to transfer a concentration post notification to the European Commission, and the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the European Commission to conduct inspections in Norway in merger cases.

More information on the new EEA Competition Act and the competition rules of the EEA Agreement:
- The press release of the EFTA Surveillance Authority 
The EEA Competition Act of 2004 (as of 1 July 2005)  
About the competition rules of the EEA Agreement

 

Last changed: 18/11/2008