Marina Androulakakis and Tania Patsalia contribute an article to the Vogel Competition Newsletter in relation to the Hellenic Competition Commission's decision setting out the criteria and conditions for the issuance of no-action letter against multilateral (including vertical) and unilateral conduct for public interest reasons.
Hellenic Competition Commission decision setting out the criteria and conditions for the issuance of no-action letter against multilateral (including vertical) and unilateral conduct for public interest reasons
By means of this year’s amendment to the Greek Competition Act (Law 3959/2011 on the protection of free competition, as in force), an innovative, simplified procedure regarding the issuance of a no-action letter for public interest reasons was introduced. Particularly, the HCC Chairman may issue, under applicable Greek competition rules, a letter to interested parties following their request, stating that no enforcement action will be taken against certain multilateral (including vertical) or unilateral conduct when this is justifiable for reasons of public interest, such as sustainable development goals.
Recently, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) issued a decision (Decision 789/2022) laying down the criteria and conditions for the issuance of the non-action letter, setting out in particular (i) the necessary requirements for the initiation of the process, (ii) the minimum content of the parties’ application, (iii) the reasons of public interest that may apply, including the sustainable development goals that the HCC is willing to assess (without, however, excluding the issuance of the letter in case of other public interest reasons outside the HCC’s list), (iv) the process to be followed in assessing the parties’ application, (v) as well as the content and the process of the issuance of the letter by the HCC Chairman.
Under the HCC decision, the non-action letter is non-binding for the HCC, the latter having the power to re-assess it at a later stage. Further, it is explicitly provided that the HCC Chairman may, following recommendation from the Directorate General for Competition, revoke a former non-action letter if the HCC obtains knowledge of new facts that may affect in essence the assessment of the behavior, or if the facts change or if issuance thereof was based on inaccurate or misleading data. Finally, the HCC decision also provides further guidance on the operation of a sandbox tool which shall be made available through HCC’s website by means of which the interested parties may file their applications.