In the future the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) will be able to intervene in the business activities of municipalities, municipal federations, the state, as well as units that are under their control if the means that are used or the structures of the activity prevent or distort competition on the market. The goal of the new Chapter 4 a of the Competition Act, which took effect at the beginning of September, is to secure balanced conditions for competition, or competition neutrality, between public and private business.
New provisions in competition and municipal legislation make it possible to intervene in many practices for which previously the European Commission was the only body to which a complaint could be sent.
"The primary manner to solve problems that are recognised is to negotiate", emphasises Juhani Jokinen, Director General of the FCCA. However, if necessary, the authority can impose obligations on such entrepreneurial activities, or even ban them.
The new rules in the Competition Act protect the possibilities for healthy and functioning competition on the market. This means that the authority would not intervene in a situation in which the only aim is to seek protection against competition coming from a player in the public sphere. A requirement for intervention is that the public entity actually distorts the prerequisites for competition, or prevents the emergence or development of competition on the market. Another requirement is that the matter can be seen to be significant as intended by the law.
The authority also has the task to see to it that pricing by a municipality is market-based in the exceptional situations in which economic activities do not need to be incorporated under the Local Government Act.
Changes in the organisation of FCCA's competition remit in the organisation
Guidance in the application of the new rules and the processing of requests for action is the responsibility of the Advocacy Unit of the Competition Affairs Division. The Advocacy Unit is headed by Assistant Director Kalle Määttä. The head of competition neutrality activities assigned to the unit is Head of Research Arttu Juuti. Assistant Director Seppo Reimavuo, who previously headed the Advocacy Unit, remains as the head of the unit's competition advocacy activities.
More information on the content of new rules for competition neutrality and FCCA procedure in monitoring competition neutrality is available in the FCCA newsletter's most recent issue (in Finnish) and on the authority's homepage www.kkv.fi/competition-neutrality.
Head of Research Arttu Juuti, Tel. +358 29 505 3614
Assistant Director Kalle Määttä, Tel. +358 29 505 3359
Director General Juhani Jokinen, Tel. +358 29 505 3389