Under the new State Aid Act adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 4 April 2014 the Ministry of Finance as the central public administration authority is given the sole competence in the area of State aid.
Thereby all the former responsibilities of the Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) as the national competition authority in the area of State aid had been shifted to the central national authority – the Ministry of Finance. Note that since 2003, under the Stabilization and Association Agreement and the former State aid Act, the Croatian Competition Agency had been empowered for authorisation, monitoring and recovery of State aid until the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the EU on 1 July 2013.
After the EU accession, when the exclusive competence for State Aid was assumed by the European Commission, the Croatian Competition Agency resumed its advisory role in this area. It consisted primarily of providing support to aid providers in the form of opinions on compliance of the proposed State aid measures with the State aid rules before the notification to the Commission and opinions on proposed State aid measures that are exempted from the obligatory notification. The CCA also notified State aid to the Commission, reported on granted State aid in Croatia etc.
Thus, the new State Aid Act which came into force on 24 April 2014 shifted all the competences of the Croatian Competition Agency in the area of State aid to the Ministry of Finance – a model used by seven Member States. This will increase effectiveness and efficiency of the national State aid regime, improve State aid control at the national level and create an integrated data base and a cohesive State aid register. All the employees of the CCA responsible for State aid have been transferred to the Ministry of Finance.
This does not affect the autonomy and independence of the Croatian Competition Agency in regard to its core activities relating to antitrust and merger control under the Competition Act.