Karanović & Nikolić, together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, hosted the Competition and Competitiveness conference on the 28th of November, 2017, at the Metropol Palace hotel, Belgrade. The conference represents a traditional yearly gathering of experts from the business and legal community, as well as key regulators and stakeholders, to discuss the most important issues and practical implications in field of competition law.
The event also saw the launch of the eleventh edition of Karanović & Nikolić's annual publication - Focus on Competition, featuring the latest updates and developments from the local, regional, and global practice of competition law.
The welcome speech was delivered by Rastko Petaković, the managing partner at Karanović & Nikolić, who stressed the importance of the topics discussed for Serbia – especially in the light of the upcoming new Competition Law.
The conference was officially opened by His Excellency, Mr. Axel Dittmann, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Serbia, who said that competition represents the driving force of the EU market.
The President of the Serbian Competition Commission, Mr. Miloje Obradović, pointed out that the aim of the competition authorities is to be effective in protecting market competition, while safeguarding the rights of the parties under investigation. The Serbian Commission, in the ten years since its establishment, has progressed in great strides, all the while learning from its neighbouring and EU counterparts.
Mr. Obradović said that, apart from changes to the Serbian legal framework, one of the authority's main goals in the next two years is to focus on increased regional cooperation. He further commented on the Serbian authorities' future efforts: "What do we expect in the future? Tradition – to continue along this path, trust – to earn it through our work, transparency in the fulfilment of our duties, predictability for market players and organic growth and strengthening of our institution".
The President of the Serbian Commission for the Control of State Aid, Ms. Andrijana Ćurčić, stated the benefits of following the Competition Commission's successful practice.
"We are encouraged by the feedback from foreign institutions like the World Bank – that gave us a positive review", Ms. Ćurčić said.
The panel, titled Competition Law and State Aid – European Perspectives, was moderated by Karanović & Nikolić partner Mr. Bojan Vučković. The panellists focused on the different experiences in the application of competition law, in the context of Serbia's accession to the EU, as well as the different institutional models for the protection of competition applied in countries like Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The panellists included: Ms. Radica Nusdorfer, Director of the European Integration and Economic Section of the EU Delegation to Serbia; Mr. Ivo Jerkić, President of the Competition Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr. Veljko Milutinović, member of the Council of the Serbian Competition Commission; Mr. Heinrich Kühnert, partner at Dorda Rechtsanwälte, Vienna; and Ms. Sonja Kovač, company lawyer at Heineken Serbia.