The Reception and Application of EU Competition Rules in Hungary: An Organic Evolution
European Competition Law Review, Vol. 34, Issue 7, pp. 359-366, 2013
32 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2014
Date Written: 2013
I will present how Hungarian competition rules and the practice of the Hungarian Competition Authority were influenced by the EU acquis. The Constitutional Court's decision will be presented that paved the way for a decision of the Association Council adopting new Implementing Rules of the Europe Agreement, mirroring the approach of the European Economic Area’s competition rules. The legally binding obligation to bring domestic competition rules in line with Community standards turned later into a process of drawing inspiration not only from EU hard law but also from soft law instruments in cases where Hungarian competition rules were applied. The paper recalls how the authority GVH prepared both itself and the business sphere during the pre-accession period for the EU membership era. The most important changes in legislation following EU accession and also the most important features of law enforcement are analyzed to show how autonomous the legislative and enforcement activity of a new Member State can be. The functioning and the leading role of the European Competition Network (ECN) in promoting a soft form of harmonization, known as ‘convergence’, will be presented. The paper discusses how the Hungarian Competition Authority applied and sometimes disregarded EU competition law provisions. Finally, a couple of actual competition law issues are discussed, like the harmonization of fining and leniency policies, recent development in private enforcement legislation and the problems with parallel investigations by several European competition authorities.
Keywords: law harmonization, EU membership, competition law, leniency, fines, private enforcement, Europe Agreement, EU accession, European Competition Network
JEL Classification: K21, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation