What were the major competition law developments in Macedonia (FYROM) during 2018?

New Competition Commission appointed

Macedonia’s NCA – Commission for Protection of Competition – has a new President and four other members of the NCA’s governing body. The appointees are:

  • Vladimir Naumovski (President);
  • Dimitrija Vrevezoski (a member of the Commission and the head of the body which imposes fines for competition law infringements);
  • Naser Zharku (a member of the Commission);
  • Aleksandar Davchevski (a member of the Commission); and
  • Ana Vitkova (a member of the Commission).

According to the Macedonian Competition Act, the mandate of the President and members of the Commission is five years, with the possibility of re-appointment.

Focus on merger control

As was also the case last year, during 2018 the Macedonian NCA’s focus was on merger control. This is no wonder, considering the very low merger filing thresholds in Macedonian competition law.

According to information published on the NCA’s website, during 2018 the NCA received as many as 57 new merger notifications. Based on the watchdog’s previous practice, it can be reasonably expected that a vast majority, if not all notified transactions, will be cleared in Phase I. As a comparison, based on unofficial data, during 2017 the Macedonian NCA cleared 44 transactions in total.

Due to the way the merger filing thresholds are set, a majority of transactions notified to the Macedonian NCA have little or no connection with the Macedonian market. However, if it’s any consolation, the merger filing fee is at least much lower than in Serbia or Montenegro: it amounts to approx. EUR 600.

All is quiet on the antitrust front

And while there were a plenty of decisions in the merger control sphere, on the antitrust front Macedonian competition law had a fairly quiet year, with no reported new cases.

What probably contributes to lessening the NCA’s workload in the area of antitrust is the fact that, unlike in the other Balkan jurisdictions, in Macedonian competition law individual exemption of restrictive agreements is governed by self-assessment. Naturally, the Macedonian NCA did not render any individual exemption decision in 2018.

State aid

Apart from antitrust (restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance) and merger control matters, the Macedonian NCA is also in charge of State aid. However, the most recent State aid decision available on the NCA’s website dates back from 2016. Based on this, State aid is not a priority in the NCA’s enforcement activities.