Comision-Nacional-Mercados-Competencia

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The Spanish Markets and Competition Commission (the “CNMC”) has released its Action Plan for 2019. The plan looks back on major milestones of 2018 and sets out 165 specific areas of activity, framed around 18 strategic actions that the CNMC aims to implement this year.

In 2018, the CNMC carried out 7 dawn raids on 23 businesses and opened 10 sanctioning proceedings. In addition, 19 sanctioning proceedings were concluded for anti-competitive conduct, of which 8 found proof of an infringement, and financial penalties were imposed for a total of €200 million.

It also highlights the holding, for the first time since the creation of the CNMC, of oral hearings at decision-making stage, in two sanctioning proceedings that were concluded in 2018.

Also, in 2018, the CNMC authorized a total of 83 mergers in initial phase, in 4 cases with commitments given by the parties, and agreed to open the second phase in a deal in the hospital sector.

In the scope of the promotion of competition, the CNMC challenged six pieces of legislation concerning the regulation of private hire vehicles, holiday rentals and the opening of shopping malls.

Throughout 2018, the CNMC created and launched the economic intelligence unit, equipped with specialist staff and dedicated resources, to detect anti-competitive conduct.

For 2019, the CNMC will carry out an ambitious, in-depth analysis of competition rules in the digital economy, particularly focusing on the operation of tech platforms, the use of algorithms and pricing policy, access conditions and the use of data, ecommerce and online advertising. It will also train staff in advanced technologies.

Other priority sectors that the CNMC will study in 2019 are the distribution of medicines, passenger rail services, the banking sector and payment services, funeral services, marine port activities and the telecommunications sector.

The CNMC will also bolster its collaboration with the state legal service to defend its interests in court, and will boost its standing to take legal action to better detect actions that are a barrier to effective competition.

Given the particular concerns of competition authorities in relation to anti-competitive practices in public procurement, the CNMC will update the Public Procurement and Competition Guidelines and will create a self-diagnosis mechanism.

Lastly, in 2019, the CNMC will take part in the work for the upcoming transposition of the ECN+ Directive, aimed at equipping competition authorities in Member States with measures to more effectively apply competition rules and to guarantee the correct operation of the internal market. Its implementation must go hand in hand with reform of Spanish Act 15/2007 on Unfair Competition, particularly to bolster the leniency program and to add new mechanisms such as settlements.

Click here to read more about the Action Plan.

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cristina.vila@cuatrecasas.com

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