The antitrust/competition in Bulgaria is regulated by national and EU legislative provisions.
On a national level, the central legislative act is the Protection of Competition Act (PCA), which to a large extent derives its principal provisions from Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU, i.e. Articles 81 and 82 of the former EC Treaty).
The two other very important acts adopted on EU level, which application in Bulgaria is arranged by the PCA, are Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty and Regulation EC 139/2004(the EC Merger Regulation) on the control of concentrations between undertakings.
Objectives of the Bulgarian Antitrust/Competition Act
The above legislation is aimed at protecting the conditions for fair competition and ensuring a level playing field for businesses. This goal is achieved through control and prevention against:
- agreements including cartels, decisions and concerted practices;
- abuse of monopolistic and dominant position on the market;
- concentration of undertakings, and other actions that may result in prevention, restriction or distortion of competition.
Scope of Application
Article 2 of the PCA reads the following: “(1) This Law shall apply to:
- all undertakings which carry on their activities within or out of the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, if they explicitly or tacitly prevent, restrict, distort or may prevent, restrict or distort competition in the country;
- the authorities of the executive branch and of local government, if they expressly or tacitly prevent, restrict, distort or might prevent, restrict or distort the competition in the country;
- undertakings to whom the state or the local authorities has assigned services of public interest in so far as the application of the law does not impede de facto or de jure the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to these enterprises and the competition in the country is not affected to a considerable extent;
- natural persons who contribute to the creation of dominant position or to the practicing of unfair competition.”
This law shall not apply to:
- the relations falling within the scope of the legislation relating to the protection of industrial property, copyright and related rights, in so far as they are not used to restrict or distort competition;
- activities, the consequences of which restrict or may restrict the competition in another state, unless otherwise provided in an international treaty which has entered into force to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party.
The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) is the independent government body which has the powers to apply the Bulgarian and EU competition legislation. The competence of the CPC, inter alia, includes the following:
- identifying the infringements under PCA and Articles 101 and 102 of TFEU and imposing sanctions;
- cooperating with the European Commission and the other member states competition bodies;
- issuing the authorizations provided under PCA;
- conduct sectorial analyses of the relevant market.
In the performance of its activities, the Commission shall conduct studies and determine the position of undertakings on the market concerned according to guidelines adopted by the Commission.