The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA), a legal person with public authority, was established by the Decision of the Croatian Parliament of 20 September 1995 and became operative in early 1997. The CCA independently and autonomously performs the activities within its scope and powers regulated under the Competition Act (Official Gazette 79/09) and the Act on the Amendments to the Competition Act (Official Gazette 80/13) and the accompanying bylaws necessary for their application. The CCA is accountable for the delivery of its objectives to the Croatian Parliament. The CCA is financed exclusively from the State budget and has no income.
The powers of the CCA cover as follows:
- establishment of prohibited agreements between undertakings and definition of the commitments necessary for elimination of harmful effects of anti-competitive behaviour,
- establishment of abuse of a dominant position of undertakings and prohibition of any behaviour leading to the abuse as well as definition of the commitments necessary for elimination of harmful effects of such anti-competitive behaviour, and
- assessment of compatibility of concentrations between undertakings.
In case of establishment of a prohibited agreement or abuse of a dominant position or implementation of a prohibited concentration, the CCA defines and imposes fines on undertakings that have been found to infringe the rules at issue, pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Competition Act and the Regulation on the method of setting fines.
Within its competence relating to competition advocacy and promotion of competition culture, the CCA issues expert opinions on the compliance with the Competition Act of draft law proposals, other proposed legal acts and existing legislation and other competition-related issues.
As of 1 July 2013 when Croatia joined the European Union, the CCA restored its competence for the application of competition law in the banking sector whereas in the area of antitrust (assessment of restrictive agreements and abuse of a dominant position of undertakings) it entered the system of parallel powers with respect to direct application of both the national competition rules and the EU competition rules contained in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
At the same time, the EU accession involves the obligatory cooperation with other national competition authorities of the EU Member States and the European Commission, but particularly the work within the European Competition Network (ECN). Concretely, the ECN obliges its members not only to decision making and cooperation in particular cases, but also to creating a common competition policy and convergence of practices of the national authorities in the application and enforcement of competition law in all its members, whereas the European Commission, in principle, decides in cases of so called significant anticompetitive cross-border or multi-jurisdictional effects, concretely, in cases with so called “EU dimension”, notifiable in three or more EU Member States.