All Nordic countries have now joined the Agreement on Cooperation in Competition Cases

In July 2020, Iceland joined the Nordic Agreement on Cooperation in Competition Cases. Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden had already joined the agreement. All Nordic countries are now parties to the agreement, which means that its objectives (more effective exchange of information and cooperation) can be fully enforced. In Finland, the agreement entered into force as a convention adopted by Parliament.

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) is a member of the European Competition Network (ECN), a collaborative network of the competition authorities of the EU Member States. Within this framework, the agency can investigate restrictions on competition in cooperation with the European Commission and other competition authorities in the EU. Parties to the ECN can also share confidential information when investigating restrictions on competition.

However, the FCCA has also repeatedly called for closer cooperation between the competition authorities in Finland and other Nordic countries because there is a clear need for stronger powers in issues concerning the region. According to the report (in Finnish) of a working group preparing the Finnish competition legislation reform in 2017, more effective exchange of information at Nordic level would benefit Finland in the investigation of restrictions on competition and in merger control.

Before the conclusion of the cooperation agreement, the problem was that as non-EU states, Iceland and Norway were outside the ECN framework. With the Nordic agreement, cooperation can now also be pursued with the competition authorities of these two countries. In the ECN, restrictions on competition can only be investigated if they impact trade between EU Member States. Such a link does not necessarily exist in all competition cases in the Nordic region and the agreement eliminates this problem in practical situations.

Under the agreement, Nordic competition authorities can provide each other with executive assistance in company inspections and share the findings with other Nordic countries. The information can be used as evidence to show that restrictions on competition have been applied. The Nordic agreement also covers cooperation on merger control matters. Within the framework of the cooperation, Nordic competition authorities can provide each other with information on their own competition investigations, which allows more efficient use of the investigation resources. The investigation powers provided under the Nordic agreement can also be used in national cases and in this respect, they are broader than those available to the members of the European Competition Network.

Rainer Lindberg, Director, tel. +358 29 505 3334.

Read more abot the international cooperation related to competition affairs.