Examining Competition in SEE

2023 Antitrust Enforcement Activities of the Competition Authorities in Southeast Europe

Competition authorities throughout the region[1] exhibited notable engagement in antitrust investigations in the previous year. These investigations frequently entailed dawn raids and substantial utilisation of digital forensic techniques. A wide range of industries were impacted, resulting in varying levels of fines being imposed. While different types of breaches were investigated, the enforcement focus for the competition authorities in Southeastern Europe, in particular in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, appeared to be on the abuse of a dominant position and resale price maintenance.

For more information on each jurisdiction, please see below.



During 2023, the focus of the Albanian competition authority’s antitrust enforcement was directed towards addressing resale price maintenance within the driving school sector, alongside investigating bid rigging activities in the market for purchasing instruments, electrical tools, and digital devices, particularly those used for checking and measuring cathodic protection, such as CIPS and DCVG. As these investigations are still ongoing, the interested public eagerly anticipates their outcomes.

Additionally, the Albanian competition authority imposed a fine of approx. EUR 50,000 for failure to notify concentration within the legal deadline, underscoring its commitment to stricter enforcement of merger control rules as well.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Two decisions uncovering competition infringements marked the enforcement activities of the Bosnian competition regulator in the last year.

Three public broadcasters together with another undertaking were found to have violated competition rules on the market for television advertising services. The Bosnian competition regulator found that they have abused their collective dominance by implementing a uniform price list for advertising and sponsorship services, accompanied by the granting of unjustified quantity discounts and prohibited loyalty incentives. The investigation resulted in fines, averaging around EUR 25,000 per party.

Furthermore, the Bosnian competition authority conducted an investigation on the market for quality control of coking coal. The involved undertakings were found responsible for collusion, having conspired to set prices significantly below those mandated by regulatory agencies – by offering discounts ranging from 30% to 45%. Such concerted actions were deemed by the authority to constitute a restrictive agreement, resulting in fines of approx. EUR 40,000 and approx. EUR 175,000 for the involved parties.



In the last year, the Croatian competition authority has been remarkably proactive, conducting antitrust investigations across a range of industries including media, confectionery (chocolate and biscuits), photocopy paper, wheat procurement services, and architectural services. The authority predominantly focused on different types of abuses of a dominant position such as refusal to supply and imposing discriminatory conditions, in respect of which the authority initiated three investigations, while the remaining two investigations that were initiated in 2023 concerned resale price maintenance.

Furthermore, the Croatian competition authority issued an infringement decision against the Croatian suppliers of bicycles, for engaging in resale price maintenance with its distributors. The authority imposed a hefty fine exceeding EUR 280,000, concluding a six-year-long investigation.



Last year, the Montenegrin competition authority investigated the Association of Tourist Agencies of Montenegro regarding its pricing practices, alleging a violation of competition rules. It was determined that the pricelist adopted by the association for services offered by tourist agencies constituted a restrictive agreement by its object under the Montenegrin Competition Law.

While the Montenegrin authority lacks the jurisdiction to directly impose fines for breaches of competition law, as this falls under the jurisdiction of the courts in Montenegro, it did prohibit the continued use of the aforementioned pricelist.



In 2023, the Serbian competition authority initiated two antitrust investigations, targeting resale price maintenance on the market for heating, cooling and hot water products and bid-rigging on the market for cleaning products. The bid-rigging investigation ended in December 2023 with the imposition of fines (on a fairly small scale due to the parties’ low turnover in 2022) and more interestingly, with the grant of the first-ever partial leniency to one of the parties, acknowledging the party’s cooperation after the investigation had been initiated. Additionally, the Serbian competition authority launched a gun-jumping investigation regarding a concentration in the domestic hospitality sector that appears to have triggered the merger filing thresholds but was not notified to the authority.

Also, in 2023 the Serbian competition authority has finalised a couple of investigations that have been previously initiated. The pivotal antitrust decision from the preceding year pertains to Serbia’s two biggest coffee producers, who were found in breach of the Serbian Competition Law in the form of a concerted practice and individually fined EUR 1.6 million and EUR 400,000. The antitrust practice involved agreeing and aligning their business strategies via direct or indirect exchange of information regarding the pricing policy and future wholesale prices of ground coffee in Serbia. Furthermore, the Serbian competition authority found that the company operating within the ceramic tile sector in Serbia had engaged in resale price maintenance and imposed a fine of approx. EUR 22,000.



Antitrust enforcement in Slovenia was marked by the imposition of a rigorous fine of EUR 3 million for gun-jumping concerning the local concentration on the market for sports nutrition supplements, along with fines of EUR 20,000 and EUR 12,000 for responsible persons. These fines confirm the Slovenian competition authority’s determination to impose high fines for gun-jumping infringements.

Also, the Slovenian competition authority launched an investigation against the Veterinary Chamber of Slovenia over entering into a restrictive agreement. Following the investigation, the authority found that the Veterinary Chamber had been involved in directly or indirectly setting prices and other commercial terms for veterinary organizations. Such actions were deemed to constitute an anti-competitive decision by an association of undertakings, with the object and effect of which is to prevent, restrict or distort competition in Slovenia and in a substantial part of the internal market of the EU, thereby impacting trade between Member States. During the proceedings, the Veterinary Chamber applied for a settlement to the Slovenian competition authority. This application was accepted, leading to the first decision issued on the basis of a settlement application and reduction in the fine to EUR 43,000.


The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.


[1] Reference to “region” in this article covers the following jurisdictions: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. In addition to listed countries, our firm covers North Macedonia. However, due to the lack of published information regarding the initiation of proceedings in 2023, there is currently no available data on their enforcement activities of the competition authority in North Macedonia in 2023.