What marked 2019 in the competition law of North Macedonia?
FYROM Is Now North Macedonia
The biggest news is not strictly related to competition law, but since it is so important, we mention it here as well.
Instead of the Republic of Macedonia, or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the country is now called the Republic of North Macedonia. Accordingly, the country’s national competition authority (NCA) is now officially the Commission for Protection of Competition of the Republic of North Macedonia.
Merger Filings Continue to Dominate
As for substantive competition law developments in North Macedonia, merger filings continue to dominate the workload of the NCA. Specifically, during 2019 at least 54 transactions were notified to the North Macedonian competition watchdog. This is comparable to 2018, when, based on unofficial data, 57 concentrations were notified.
Such a large number of merger filings in North Macedonia comes to no surprise, considering how the merger filing thresholds are set in this jurisdiction. Concretely, in order for a concentration to trigger the North Macedonian merger filing thresholds, it does not have to have any connection with North Macedonia – it is sufficient that the acquirer is present on the North Macedonian market.
For information about the merger filing thresholds in North Macedonia, please see here.
To access our online app for checking the merger filing thresholds in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia, please click here.
All Remains Quiet on the Antitrust Front
The North Macedonian NCA seems to be focused solely on merger control – there were no new antitrust cases in North Macedonia in 2019. The situation is in that respect similar to 2018, when there was also no antitrust activity by the competition watchdog.
Actually, for meaningful antitrust enforcement in North Macedonia one needs to go back to 2017, when the North Macedonian NCA fined two breweries more than EUR 8 million for vertical price fixing.
Considering the trends in the competition law of North Macedonia, in 2020 we can expect that merger control will continue to dominate the enforcement landscape. Whether this year the North Macedonian NCA will finally turn to meaningful antitrust enforcement, too – remains to be seen.