Many competition problems can be swiftly resolved

Press release

Many municipalities and public authorities have altered their working methods after the Swedish Competition Authority has launched an investigation regarding possible breaches of the rules on anti-competitive sales activities by public entities. This is the conclusion of a new report from the Swedish Competition Authority.

Private entities that feel they have been subject to unfair competition from municipal, county council or central government activities can turn to the Competition Authority. As from 2010, the Swedish Competition Act includes a prohibition (SFS 2008:579) against  anti-competitive sales activities by public entities.

A new report titled Voluntary Measures in Sales Activities in the public sector shows that many (25 in total) municipalities or other public authorities have changed their behaviour after the Competition Authority initiated an investigation This means that a large number of cases can be resolved relatively quickly and without the need for overly resource-intensive measures.

“It pays off for private entities who feel that they have been subject to distortion of competition from municipal or other public authorities to turn to the Competition Authority.” So says Rikard Jermsten, Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority.

The complaints made to the Swedish Competition Authority may involve a variety of different sales activities, as for example restaurants, gymnasiums, pipe flushing, interpretation services or the sale of jetties. The complainants are private entities that feel it is impossible to compete on equal terms with the municipality or a public government authority.

“Our supervisory work is effective and the legislation is effective. When municipalities or other public authorities choose to self-correct their behaviour, it is possible to resolve this type of competition problem relatively swiftly,” says Rikard Jermsten.

In order to provide private entities, municipalities and public authorities guidance, it is important to demonstrate how the rules on anti-competitive public-sector sales activities should be interpreted. When problems are resolved and cases closed without the need for drawn-out investigations or court proceedings, it is important to clearly formulate and document the measures that have been implemented.

“Coherent documentation allows us to monitor the public operator to ensure that it in fact has altered its behaviour and in addition, also provides valuable guidance to other municipalities and public authorities on how we interpret the rules on anti-competitive sales activities by public entities,” says Rikard Jermsten.

For further information, please contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, tel: +46 (0)76 542 15 80, jimmy.dominius@kkv.se
Staffan Martinsson, Project Manager, tel: +46 (0)8 700 15 30
Read the report at www.konkurrensverket.se

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