Competition and public procurement are two areas that are greatly affected by increased globalisation and the issues addressed on the international agenda. That is why international cooperation on competition and procurement issues is becoming increasingly important.
One way in which the Swedish Competition Authority contributes to the development of the competition and procurement areas is through its participation in cooperation within the Nordic region, the EU, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the International Competition Network (ICN).
The Nordic region
We benefit greatly from exchanging knowledge and experience with the corresponding authorities within the Nordic region. That is why we have well-structured cooperation within the region, both in the area of competition and in the area of procurement.
Many undertakings see the Nordic market as a single market. Combined with the similar market conditions, this means that we have been working particularly closely with the other Nordic competition authorities for many years.
Every year, a Nordic meeting is arranged with the aim of exchanging knowledge and experience between employees from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In addition, a director’s meeting is organised once a year. Within the framework of Nordic cooperation, there are also special working groups that deal with cartels, merger issues, general counsel and chief economists.
There is also a Nordic cooperation agreement for cooperation in the supervision of competition cases. This cooperation agreement can be used in cooperation between the Swedish Competition Authority and the competition authorities in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
At least once a year, representatives from the Nordic ministries or departments and subordinate responsible authorities meet to discuss current procurement law issues.
The meetings deal with many different types of matters, such as legal developments in the field and implementation issues. In addition to these meetings, knowledge and experience are exchanged through seminars and workshops on more specific issues.
The rules used by the Swedish Competition Authority in the areas of competition and procurement are largely harmonised within the EU. It is therefore important that there are effective ways for us to cooperate with the European Commission and national authorities in the other Member States.
The ECN is a cooperation forum aimed at ensuring that EU competition rules are used in a similar way throughout the EU. Within the framework of the network, the Commission and the national competition authorities exchange information about their investigations and decisions, assist each other in investigative operations, and share evidence.
These efforts are also carried out in various work and sector groups in which the Swedish Competition Authority actively participates. We also participate in meetings of advisory committees, where the Commission obtains the views of the Member States before rendering decisions on their cases.
The Swedish procurement rules are based on EU legal directives. Therefore, the proper application of the rules requires in-depth cooperation at the EU level. For example, the Swedish Competition Authority participates in the European Commission’s expert group, the Network of First Instance Review Bodies on Public Procurement, as well as the Commission’s Economic and Statistical Working Group (ESWG).
The Network of First Instance Review Bodies on Public Procurement consists of representatives from courts, supervisory authorities and other first instance review bodies. The representatives come from all EU and EEA Member States. The aim of the network is to ensure the efficient application of the EU’s Remedies Directives, which contain rules on, e.g., procurement review.
The Economic and Statistical Working Group deals with the EU’s public procurement statistics, and in particular with the reporting of Member States under the procurement directives.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a cooperation body for the governments of 36 countries and is headquartered in Paris.
The overall aim of the cooperation is to contribute to growth, employment and higher living standards in the Member States, to promote healthy economic development in both the Member States and in the rest of the world, and to contribute to the expansion of world trade.
The OECD Competition Committee holds meetings twice a year. The aim of the work is to exchange experiences on current competition policy and legal issues and to develop recommendations and practical methods.
The Swedish Competition Authority is actively involved in this work, and we make written contributions to the talks within the context of the WP2 (Competition and Regulation) and WP3 (Co-operation and Enforcement) working groups, as well as the Competition Committee. During the autumn meeting of the Committee, the OECD organises the Global Forum on Competition for both OECD members and invited non-members.
7–10 December 2020
Economic Analysis in Merger Investigations
2–6 December 2019
3–7 June 2019
Digital Disruption in Financial Markets
26–30 November 2018
Designing publicly funded healthcare markets
19–23 June 2017
Competition issues in aftermarkets
28 November–2 December 2016
Competition and innovation in land transport
13–17 June 2016
Commitment decisions in antitrust cases
OECD’s work in the area of procurement takes place primarily within the framework of the Leading Practitioners on Public Procurement (LPP) network. The overall aim of the work is to formulate recommendations for public procurement and to exchange experiences and good examples of public procurement from the various Member States.
Within LPP, the Swedish Competition Authority has contributed its experience and viewpoints regarding tools for supervision and increased integrity in public procurement. The LPP meets during the OECD’s annual Procurement Week.
International Competition Network, ICN
The International Competition Network (ICN) is a worldwide network of competition authorities and aims to promote understanding of competition issues and the value of effective competition policy.
The work is carried out in project form within the context of various working groups. There are currently five active working groups: Cartels, Mergers, Unilateral Conduct, Agency Effectiveness and Advocacy.
In addition to representatives from competition authorities, additional non-governmental advisors (NGAs) also participate. These include advisors from industry and consumer organisations, researchers and lawyers who voluntarily contribute to ICN’s work. This cooperation ensures the high quality of both discussions and written products.
The Swedish Competition Authority has special responsibility for leading the work of the working group on effective working methods, the Agency Effectiveness Working Group (AEWG).