The Danish Competition Council ("DCC") recently released its annual report, which includes a brief overview of its statistics for 2021, as well as an outlook to the DCC's coming initiatives and focus areas for 2022. This article provides a summary of the most relevant topics from a business perspective.
Focus areas for 2022
As with several other national competition authorities and the European Commission, the Danish competition authority has the digital economy and sustainability as the two primary areas of focus in 2022.
The digital economy will remain an enforcement priority for the DCC, which is particularly noticeable from the establishment of a new unit focused on tech. Whilst the DCC acknowledges the possibilities created by the advent of new technologies, the DCC remains aware of the challenges of maintaining effective competition in the digital markets. In the annual report the DCC states that it will in particular focus on preventing abuse of dominant positions by large digital platforms, as well as algorithmic collusion.
Moreover, the newly established unit for tech will be responsible for the recently introduced platform-to-business regulation, which can be expected receive great attention this year.
In relation to sustainability and climate change mitigation, the DCC notes that the importance of being climate friendly is an important parameter of competition for Danish companies, and that increased competition in delivering sustainable solutions will contribute to mitigating climate change. Specifically, the DCC has already initiated an analysis of the market for charging of electric cars, which can be expected to be an area of focus during 2022.
In addition to these areas, the DCC states that it will have as a sector focus (i) the financial industry and (ii) the health and pharma industry. What appears to be the most interesting initiative is a forthcoming analysis on the expenses on private insurance in Danish households based on prices. As regard to health and pharma the council intends to follow up on the recent study that shows a relatively high income among pharmacists compared to similar businesses as dentists and doctors.
The implementation of the ECN+ directive
In addition to the outline of the focus areas for 2022, the report also provides an insight into the new enforcement rules set out in the ECN+ directive. In general, the DCC notes that infringement decisions against companies have been processed faster as a result of the DCC being provided with the power to impose fines, as this means that only one authority needs to be involved.
Within the new enforcement system, the DCC can impose fines on companies, while the power to impose fines on individuals is still reserved for the Special Crime Unit (National enhed for Særlig Kriminalitet). Guidance is scheduled to be published by the DCC in the course of 2022.
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