The Swedish government has presented a bill with proposals that strengthen the powers of the Swedish Competition Authority in the area of competition. The proposals include decision-making powers to impose fines for anti-competitive behaviour, expanded powers during unannounced inspections, and the right to decide on fines for companies that refuse to participate in the Authority’s investigations. The aim of the proposals is to strengthen the Swedish Competition Authority’s enforcement activities.
The strengthened powers will enable the Swedish Competition Authority to monitor more effectively compliance with the competition rules in markets that are increasingly characterised by rapid technological and digital development.
The Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority, Rikard Jermsten, welcomes the government bill.
"The new rules will mean that the Swedish Competition Authority is better able to conduct its enforcement work to ensure compliance with the competition rules in a clear, effective and legally certain manner. It is particularly important to be able to intervene effectively against restrictions on competition in markets where the pace of change is fast and activities are cross-border."
The government bill also states that the Swedish Competition Authority's powers are being expanded in order to facilitate international cooperation with other competition authorities within the EU. Several of the proposals are based on an EU Directive aimed at harmonising and strengthening competition enforcement within the European Union.
"The new rules minimise a number of direct and indirect obstacles to effective cooperation between competition authorities. One important change is that the Swedish Competition Authority will be granted decision-making powers that are consistent with other competition authorities in the EU," observes Rikard Jermsten.
It is proposed that the legislative amendments will take effect on 1 March 2021.
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