Archive / News in the Legislation
There is no unlawful cartel of the retail chains for the sales of their own brands
The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) established the lack of cartel between the retail chains regarding the sales of their own brands. The proceeding was initiated due to implied allegations for coordinated market behavior of the retail chains and possible determination of the delivery and sales prices of goods branded by the chains.
The competition team of Penkov, Markov and Partners – Mr. Vladimir Penkov, Mr. Svetlin Adrianov and Mrs. Yura Mincheva successfully defended the interest of one of the retail chains in the complex with a view to its proceedings specifics and regulation peculiarities investigation of the CPC which went on for about a year.
Our team has built successful defending strategy towards the groundless statements of CPC for illegal actions and meanwhile carried out training for the chain’s personnel for detailed clarification on the activities which could be considered as breach of the competition rules. Broadly discussed were the good commercial practices as well as the specific guidelines and practices of the European Commission at investigations for cartel agreements. At the end of the day the efforts of our team resulted in convincing the CPC that our client is in no breach of the rules for protection of competition and at the same time our client was updated on the regulations and mechanisms which should be applied by his personnel to avoid such infringements.
Another positive court decision enacted for compensation damages caused, by retaining of the unconstitutional 20% state under the Renewable Sources Energy Act
The efforts of “Penkov, Markov and Partners” Attorneys-at-Law for protecting the legal interests of RES producers who have suffered damages from illegal actions of the Bulgarian State, have again been successful. The court representation, aimed at refunding the 20 % fee paid by the RES producers, is without precedent and our law firm was the first to undertake the uneasy task to challenge the widely spread perception in the legal theory and the court practice that the fees thus paid are not subject to refund.
In the beginning of 2017 the Sofia Regional Court again clearly demonstrated that the status quo could be revised, by enacting another decision against the Republic of Bulgaria obliging it to compensate a company, RES producer of electric energy, represented by “Penkov, Markov and Partners”, for the damages caused with the application of the unconstitutional fee for previous period.
In its decision the Sofia Regional Court confirmed our argumentation that the amounts claimed represent compensation for material damages suffered by the RES producers, being loss of profit from income that could be obtained from the price of produced electric energy, which occurred as result of actions of members of the 42nd National Assembly, namely the adoption of the provisions of Article 35a and the following from the Renewable Sources Energy Act.
The court also upheld the argumentation of “Penkov, Markov and Partners” for conflict between the 20 % state fee and Article 107, para 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, by virtue of which unless EU law provides otherwise, any aid granted by a Member State in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods, in so far as it affects trade between Member States, shall be incompatible with the internal market. In this sense the Bulgarian court confirmed the fact that the 20% state fee withheld appears clearly discriminatory for the RES producers of energy from wind and sun, in respect of whom the unconstitutional legal provisions have been applied.
Our team is closely following whether the court practice for fair compensation of the damages caused to the sector will be continued and approved also by other court panels who are reviewing cases on the same subject.
The Register of Bank Accounts and Safe Deposit Boxes has been operating since the 1st of January 2017
Due to its creation in September 2016 the Governing Council of the Bulgarian National Bank adopted Ordinance No. 12 on the Register of Bank Accounts and Safe Deposit Boxes. This regulatory instrument defines in detail the procedure for submission and obtaining information from the Register of Bank Accounts and Safe Deposit Boxes maintained by the National Bulgarian Bank.
Practically, the register aims to provide centralized information indicating bank account numbers, bank account holders and the individuals authorized to operate with the accounts of the parties, as well as for the safe deposit boxes lessees and their proxies.
A number of government bodies and banks will be able to receive information from the register as it is specified under Art. 56a, para. 3 of the Credit Institutions Act, natural and legal persons may have access to the register as well on the information contained thereon in the system.
This is undoubtedly a step into the right direction. This database will be especially useful for government institutions and the banks, it will save administrative resources and time by the rapid identification of bank account holders in Bulgaria, which was so far possible but was being conducted through a slow, cumbersome and therefore useless wasteful resource procedure. In the future, in order to achieve even greater benefit from the register a proper formula for access and usage by financial institutions by the identification, especially of the beneficiaries of consumer loans, shall be found.
EU will soon end the roaming charges
On 01.02.2017 representatives from the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and European Commission concluded a preliminary agreement to reduce the wholesale roaming charges for the 28 EU member states to the "roam-like-at-home" prices. The agreement is part of the Digital Single Market strategy where one of the “pillars” introduced with it is the reduction of the prices for roaming services within the EU.
Under the motto "roam-like-at-home" the costumers of mobile services in EU will be charged equally for mobile calls within their home country or when travelling within the EU.
The agreement provides also for a step-by-step reduction of data caps – from €7.7 per GB in 2017 to €7.7 per GB in 2022. The charges shall be revised each two years and the first impact assessment of the price reform shall be conducted at the end of 2019.
Under the official instructions of the European Commission the "roam-like-at-home" provision should be incorporated in the contractual terms of the mobile operators as of 15th June 2017.
The tripartite agreement shall become applicable after its formal approval by the European Commission and the Council.
The implementation of the planned amendments to the Obligations and Contracts Act may suspend the sanctioning effect of the “legal interest on delayed payment”
This is one of the many examples for a regulatory draft bill for amendment of a legal act without a preliminary impact assessment of the aimed changes. It is paradoxical that such “unlawful” lawmaking is becoming a principle and the consequences are rather predictable – expectedly blemished and unstable legal environment.