I OVERVIEW

i Prioritisation and resource allocation of enforcement authorities

In competition matters, the primary public enforcement authority in Finland is the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA). The FCCA cannot impose administrative fines, but must make a fine proposal to the Market Court. The judgments of the Market Court can be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).

Finnish competition enforcement is likely to undergo some changes in the near future. The Competition Act2 entered into force on 1 November 2011, replacing the former Act on Competition Restrictions.3 A new amendment process began in 2015, and in May 2018, a Government Bill on amendments to the Competition Act4 was presented to the Parliament. A parliamentary review of the proposal is currently under way.

Other recent significant developments concerned private enforcement, especially with the implementation of the EU Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions5 into national law by the new Antitrust Damages Act,6 which entered into force on 26 December 2016.

ii Enforcement agenda

The FCCA's new Director General Kirsi Leivo began her term in September 2018. The new Director General has publicly emphasised the importance of fighting cartels and the need for more severe sanctions.

The FCCA has announced that its objectives for the years 2017–2020 include continuing to focus on the detection of hardcore cartels. The FCCA will also emphasise effective merger control with the intention of preventing the emergence of harmful concentrations in advance. Furthermore, the FCCA will continue to implement its supervisory powers concerning public sector entities with regard to competitive neutrality issues. The FCCA will also aim to ensure an efficient start to its new task of supervising the legality of public procurement, which was assigned to it as of the beginning of 2017.7

II CARTELS

Finland has had a leniency programme in place since 1 May 2004. The programme was updated in the Competition Act, which entered into force in November 2011, and is now laid out in Sections 14 to 17 of the Competition Act. The leniency programme is very similar to the European Competition Network model leniency programme. In 2016, the revised leniency guidelines issued in 20118 were replaced with new guidelines9 that take account of the new Antitrust Damages Act.

The FCCA received its first leniency case only minutes after the entry into force of the programme in 2004.10 However, after a spectacular start, there have been only a few leniency applications, which has clearly been a disappointment to the FCCA.11 The relatively small number of leniency cases is reflected in the number of the FCCA's penalty payment proposals to the Market Court in cartel cases. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 the FCCA only brought one cartel case before the Market Court each year, while in 2013 and 2017 no cases were brought before the Market Court by the FCCA.

i Significant cases

FCCA's penalty payment proposal in the Coach Company cartel

On 25 January 2016, the FCCA submitted a proposal to the Market Court to impose a fine of €38 million on seven coach companies, the Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Oy Matkahuolto Ab (Matkahuolto), a service and marketing company that promotes bus and coach services in Finland. The FCCA also ordered Matkahuolto to cease all anticompetitive measures to foreclose competing coach companies from the market. The FCCA had started its investigations in 2011 on the basis of a complaint lodged by competitors.

According to the proposal, the alleged cartel started in autumn 2008 and still partially continued at the time of the proposal. In December 2009, legislation was amended to open up coach traffic for competition. In a mutual understanding, major coach companies tried to prevent the opening of the market and new competitors' entry to the market, among other things, by preventing competitors from accessing the travel and parcel services of Matkahuolto. Consumers could not find competitors' departure information from Matkahuolto's timetables or buy their tickets from Matkahuolto. Moreover, competitors were denied access to Matkahuolto's parcel delivery system, access to which would have been essential from a business perspective. In measuring the amount of the proposed fine, the FCCA took into account as an aggravating factor that the Finnish Bus and Coach Association had previously been sanctioned for price recommendation.

On 14 December 2017, the Market Court found the coach companies, the Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Matkahuolto guilty of restricting competition. However, the Market Court found that lobbying work, discussions and negotiations related thereto as well as measures concerning opposing the issuing of route licences did not constitute a prohibited restriction of competition. As a result, the fines imposed by the Market Court were significantly lower than those proposed by the FCCA, amounting to a total of €1.1 million. The decision of the Market Court has been appealed to the SAC.

FCCA's penalty payment proposal in the EPS insulation infringement case

On 4 December 2018, the FCCA submitted a proposal to the Market Court to impose a fine of over €4 million in total on two EPS insulation producers, Thermisol Oy and UK-Muovi Oy, for prohibited cooperation between competitors in the EPS insulation market in Finland. Styroplast Oy applied for leniency.

According to the FCCA, the alleged infringement began in November 2012 and continued until the end of 2014. Pursuant to the FCCA's proposal, the three companies infringed competition rules by agreeing on the amounts, timing and implementation of price increases. The case is currently pending before the Market Court.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

As discussed above, the fight against cartels continues to be one of the FCCA's main priorities. The detection of cartels has been boosted by increasing cooperation between the competition authorities and the contracting entities responsible for public procurement. The FCCA has announced that it will bring all detected cartel infringements before the Market Court.12 Corresponding to EU rules, the fines may equal 10 per cent of the undertaking's turnover at the most.13 The FCCA's new Director General has publicly emphasised the need for a higher level of fines than what has been imposed by the courts in practice, arguing that higher fines would have a stronger deterrent effect, and welcomed the idea of criminalising cartel conduct in Finland.

In reviewing Finnish competition law during the past few years, it is clear that private enforcement has been a particularly active segment. In the Asphalt cartel case, the Helsinki District Court dismissed the damages claim of the Finnish state in its entirety, but awarded damages to a number of municipalities. While the claims of the state and of several municipalities were settled by the parties after the judgment of the Court of Appeal, a number of applications for leave to appeal were filed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismissed the majority of the applications, and granted limited leaves to appeal to one respondent and one claimant in September 2017. Some applications for leave to appeal were left in abeyance until final decisions are given in the matters in which leave to appeal was granted. The Supreme Court subsequently granted one respondent further leave to appeal in August 2018 and November 2018. In December 2017, the Supreme Court made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice regarding the question of economic succession in determining the parties liable for damages. Significant damages cases concerning an infringement involving the procurement of raw wood came to an end in January 2019, when the Supreme Court dismissed an application for leave to appeal by one of the claimants. Further, multiple damages claims are pending before the Helsinki District Court in an abuse of dominance case involving national dairy products champion Valio Ltd (Valio).

iii Outlook

It seems clear that the FCCA will continue to focus on the investigation of hardcore cartels. Under the prioritising rule of Section 32 of the Competition Act, the FCCA does not need to conduct an in-depth investigation if an infringement is deemed unlikely at the outset or, irrespective of the infringement's likelihood, if competition is considered effective on the whole. Moreover, according to publicly available information, the FCCA is currently investigating new cartel cases that may in future result in penalty payment proposals to the Market Court.

III ANTITRUST: RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS AND DOMINANCE

Sections 5 and 7 of the Competition Act set out the prohibited restraints on competition and abuse of dominant positions respectively. The sections have been harmonised with Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.

The FCCA has made only a handful of penalty payment proposals to the Market Court in dominance cases. In most of the few cases brought to the Market Court, the level of fines has been modest. Typical Section 7 investigations of the FCCA have lasted a long time and have ended with the FCCA closing the case without further measures. The experiences have been equally frustrating to both the targeted undertaking and the complainant.

However, the FCCA has made one significant fine proposal in a dominance case to the Market Court in recent years. In December 2012, the FCCA proposed that the Market Court impose a fine of €70 million on Valio. The Market Court rendered its decision in the case in summer 2014, and it is summarised below. The decision of the Market Court became final when the SAC dismissed Valio's appeal in December 2016.

In 2018, the FCCA concluded three investigations regarding suspected restraints on competition. In two of the cases, the companies involved changed their suspected market behaviour on their own initiative, and in one case the FCCA found that there was no evidence of anticompetitive behaviour.

i Significant cases

Restraints on competition

FCCA's commitment decision concerning bus ticket pricing

In March 2018, the FCCA issued a commitment decision concerning Matkahuolto's pricing and rate tables. Matkahuolto sells its own ticket products. Matkahuolto's single ticket pricing was based on a rate table published on its website. In addition, the rate table was included in agreements between Matkahuolto and individual coach companies. According to the FCCA's preliminary assessment, the individual coach companies had widely used the rate table as the basis for their ticket pricing, which led to significant anticompetitive effects, as it restricted price competition and limited consumers' choice.

As a result, Matkahuolto committed to refraining from confirming and publishing rate tables on its website or as a part of its agreements with the individual coach companies. In addition, Matkahuolto committed to stop selling its own single tickets, the price of which was based on the rate table, to consumers. Matkahuolto may continue selling single tickets, but the independent transport providers must set the retail price.

FCCA's commitment decision concerning copyrights

The FCCA issued a commitment decision in December 2018 concerning the terms and conditions of Teosto ry's affiliation agreements. The FCCA had started its investigations in 2014. Teosto is the sole Finnish copyright organisation for composers, lyricists, arrangers and companies that publish music.

The membership agreement between Teosto and the composers, lyricists, arrangers and music publishers that it represents included an exclusivity clause according to which the economic rights of the clients' works were assigned to Teosto. In 2017, Teosto divided the economic rights under its administration into five categories. Clients were given the right to withdraw categories of rights, but not rights to individual works, from Teosto's administration. In addition, clients were only allowed to grant licences of use to their works in specific situations. According to the FCCA, the exclusivity clause was not necessary for protecting the rights of Teosto's clients with regard to the users of their works. Furthermore, the categorisation of rights encouraged the holders of those rights to concentrate the administration of all their works to Teosto.

Teosto committed to amending the membership agreements. The amendments will allow for clients to withdraw their individual works from Teosto's administration and, in addition, to grant licences of use to their works on a case-by-case basis without having to remove entire categories of rights or terminating their membership agreements in order to be able to do so.

Abuse of dominance

Predatory pricing

In June 2014, the Market Court handed down a decision in a case in which national dairy products champion Valio was accused by the FCCA of having abused its dominant position on the Finnish market for fresh milk.14 Valio had allegedly engaged in predatory pricing with the aim of driving out its main competitor Arla Oy (Arla, formerly Arla Ingman Oy Ab).

The Market Court upheld the FCCA decision of December 2012, in which the FCCA had ordered Valio to cease its conduct. The Court found that Valio had sold fresh milk below average variable costs in order to drive out competition and eventually raise prices. Additionally, the Court imposed a fine amounting to €70 million on Valio as proposed by the FCCA. Valio appealed the Market Court's decision to the SAC. As previously mentioned, the SAC upheld the Market Court's ruling in December 2016. This is the highest single fine ever imposed in Finland for any competition law infringement.

The Market Court applied both Finnish competition law and Article 102 TFEU. The question of Valio's dominance had been established in previous decisions, and despite Valio's objections, the Market Court held that Valio was in a dominant position on the Finnish market for fresh milk. The FCCA had argued that based on EU case law, the relevant test for predatory pricing is selling below average variable costs, which is in itself an indication of abuse of dominance. According to the FCCA, the cost of raw milk was a variable cost. On the basis of such a calculation, Valio had sold fresh milk at a loss during the relevant period.

The Market Court agreed with the FCCA that pricing below average variable costs is an indication of abuse, and noted that case law did not require evidence of intent in such a case. The FCCA had in any case invoked evidence that Valio had the intent of driving out its competitor, Arla, from the market. The Market Court agreed that emails by Valio's management showed that Valio had the intent of foreclosing the market and regaining a higher market share. In addition, the rebates given to specific customers had the effect of amplifying the foreclosing effect of the predatory pricing. Arla was forced to offer even lower prices than Valio in order to keep its customers from switching to Valio. The Market Court viewed this as a clear indication of the intent to foreclose Arla from the market. This behaviour could not be objectively justified. Valio had previously been sanctioned for abusing its dominant position, which increased the fine. In addition, the Market Court found Valio's unwillingness to cease the conduct during the administrative proceedings to be an aggravating factor.

Arla lodged a damages claim of €58 million against Valio before the Helsinki District Court, but the parties settled the matter in September 2018. Other claims have also been lodged. Although Valio has settled with a number of other claimants as well, several claims are currently pending before the court.

ii Outlook

As noted above, the Competition Act contains a provision on prioritisation of the FCCA's activities. Even before the entry into force of the prioritisation provision in Section 32 of the Competition Act, the FCCA closed a majority of its dominance investigations without further measures noting, inter alia, that its role is not to solve individual contractual disputes between parties but to ensure the functioning of the market and healthy competition.15 Section 32 codifies the practice and grants the FCCA a right to remove cases that have only a minor impact on the economy more quickly.

The FCCA has applied the prioritisation provision regularly, and is expected to continue to do so in the future. As a result of the provision, the FCCA is able to focus on the more serious restraints on competition. This has had a positive effect on the processing times as well, as these have tended to be long. The FCCA has internally set a target that no case would be under investigation for longer than three years.16

IV SECTORAL COMPETITION: MARKET INVESTIGATIONS AND REGULATED INDUSTRIES

i Trends, developments and strategies

FCCA's supervisory powers concerning competitive neutrality

Chapter 4a of the Competition Act entrusts the FCCA with a supervisory task to enhance competitive neutrality between public and private businesses. Pursuant to the Chapter, the FCCA has the power to intervene in the business activities of the municipalities, the joint municipal authorities and the state, as well as the entities over which they have control if such public sector entity is distorting the conditions for competition or preventing the establishment or development of competition on the market.

So far, the FCCA has published eight decisions concerning competitive neutrality, four of which were published in 2018. For example, in December 2018, the FCCA rendered a decision concerning the Customs Laboratory, a part of the Finnish Customs, and the laboratory's activities in the market for laboratory services. The Customs Laboratory is a testing laboratory accredited by the Finnish Accreditation Service, and it also acts as a national reference laboratory. According to the Customs Laboratory, it had not actively promoted its services in the market for laboratory services. However, owing to the well-known quality of the laboratory's work, private customers had bought services from it. During the investigations, the Customs Laboratory announced that it would no longer provide services to private parties or participate in calls for tender. In the future, services will only be offered to governmental agencies and institutions. The FCCA closed its investigations and considered that under these new circumstances, the effects on competitive neutrality are unlikely to be serious.

In May 2017, the FCCA published guidelines on market-based pricing to help public sector entities to assess the competitive neutrality of their own activities.17 The guidelines describe the principles and measures of the FCCA in the supervision of pricing. According to the guidelines, the supervision consists of assessing both the setting of prices and the economic activity of the public sector entities.

ii Outlook

The FCCA has announced that it will focus on developing the identification and surveillance of industries suffering from weak competition, and intervene with activities maintaining and enhancing passive competition and anticompetitive coordination within sectors where competition is weak. In October 2017, the FCCA announced that it is investigating certain companies operating in the social welfare and healthcare market. The inspections were carried out in August 2017 with the purpose of determining whether said companies had impeded competition when they participated in tender processes. In addition, in March 2017, the FCCA announced investigations regarding possible anticompetitive measures in the property management market. Both investigations are still ongoing.

V STATE AID

There are no national rules on state aid, and the applicable rules are those laid down in Articles 107 to 109 TFEU. However, there are procedural rules concerning, inter alia, the recovery of unlawful state aid and the European Commission's inspection powers, the duty to notify state aid to the Commission and certain exemptions from this duty (e.g., the de minimis rule and the general block exemption regulation).

Furthermore, the Act on the Openness and Obligation to Provide Information on Economic Activities Concerning Certain Undertakings that applies to companies carrying out services of general economic interest facilitates the Commission's ability to monitor competition and state aid rules in Finland.18

The contact point for the Commission in state aid matters is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The FCCA does not have a role concerning state aid.

i Significant cases

Alleged illegal state aid awarded to Yliopiston Apteekki Oy

In October 2017, the European Commission concluded its investigations concerning alleged illegal state aid to Yliopiston Apteekki Oy (University Pharmacy), which is owned by the University of Helsinki. According to a complaint made in 2015, the fact that pursuant to the Medicines Act,19 University Pharmacy may keep up to 16 branch pharmacies, when a licensed pharmacist may only keep up to three branch pharmacies, and that University Pharmacy is not charged for the use of extra licences, constitutes illegal state aid. In addition, University Pharmacy would allegedly have benefited from preferential tax treatment through the reimbursement of taxes to the University of Helsinki. Nevertheless, the European Commission came to the conclusion that the two measures do not constitute state aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

In general, practices concerning the application of EU state aid rules are gradually being formed, and national courts are increasingly applying state aid rules. For instance, the SAC has in recent years annulled several administrative court decisions partly due to the courts omitting to consider the applicability of the state aid rules, or to follow the relevant procedures in their decision-making. The cases concerned, inter alia, the sale of land, guarantees and subscription of shares in a directed share issue.20

iii Outlook

In June 2017, the Finnish Media Federation, an advocacy organisation for the Finnish media industry and printing companies, lodged a complaint to the European Commission claiming that the public funding of Yleisradio Oy's (Yle) textual journalistic online content constitutes prohibited state aid. Yle is a national media company owned mostly by the state, and its operations are funded primarily through the Public Broadcasting Tax. According to the Finnish Media Federation, the provision of textual journalism online is not to be considered broadcasting under the Amsterdam Protocol and the Communication on public service broadcasting.21 Instead, the services in question should be evaluated under the EU services of general economic interest doctrine. The Finnish Media Federation argued that since a private supply of said services already existed in the Finnish market, there was no need to qualify textual journalistic online content as a service of general economic interest. In addition, the production of Yle's wide textual journalistic online content leads to a disproportionate distortion of competition. The Commission's investigation is currently pending.

VI MERGER REVIEW

The provisions on merger control were last revised in the 2011 reform of the Competition Act with the purpose of bringing them further into line with EU rules. Most notably, the dominance test applied under the old rules was replaced by the significant impediment of effective competition test, which was introduced to enable the FCCA to shift the focus of its review more towards the competitive effects of mergers.

Under the merger control provisions, a concentration shall be notified to the FCCA if the combined aggregate worldwide turnover of the parties exceeds €350 million; and the aggregate turnover of each of at least two of the parties accrued from Finland exceeds €20 million.

The rules concerning the calculation of the turnover correspond to a large extent with the provisions of the EU Merger Regulation.

Once a concentration has been notified to the FCCA, it has a period of one month to investigate and either clear the concentration (possibly with conditions) or to initiate a Phase II investigation. If a Phase II investigation is opened, the FCCA has an additional three months (or five months, with the permission of the Market Court) to approve the concentration with or without conditions, or to request the Market Court to prohibit it. If the FCCA requests such a prohibition, the Market Court must make its decision either to clear the concentration with or without conditions or prohibit it within three months.

The majority of notified concentrations are cleared in Phase I. In 2018, the FCCA issued approximately 39 merger decisions, and Phase II investigations were initiated in only nine cases.

i Significant cases

FCCA conditional approval in Eurofins/VTT Expert Services/Labtium

In May 2018, the FCCA conditionally approved the acquisition of VTT Expert Services Oy and its subsidiary Labtium Oy by Eurofins Product Testing LUX Holding SARL (Eurofins). Eurofins is part of the Eurofins Scientific Group and offers bioanalytical laboratory and expert services in the food, agricultural and environmental sectors. VTT Expert Services and Labtium offer commercial testing, inspection and certification services in the construction, environmental and industrial sectors.

The FCCA started Phase II investigations in February 2018, arguing that the acquisition could lead to harmful effects on competition particularly in the environmental sector's testing, inspection and certification service market. According to the FCCA, the acquisition brought together the two biggest operators in the market for solid fuel analysis and resulted in a significant combined market share. Nevertheless, the FCCA approved the merger subject to conditions. To eliminate the negative effects of the transaction, Eurofins committed to divesting its operation unit that focuses on solid fuels analytics services.

FCCA conditional approval in Colosseum Dental Group/Med Group Hammaslääkärit

In July 2018, the FCCA conditionally approved the acquisition of Med Group Hammaslääkärit Oy by Colosseum Dental Group. Colosseum Dental Group is an international company that provides oral health and dental services, and owns Oral Hammaslääkärit Oy in Finland.

The FCCA launched Phase II investigations in April 2018 in order to determine, among other things, the extent to which public sector dental care creates competition pressure on private sector services. The FCCA considered that the transaction would impede effective competition in the private oral health market in four municipalities, where the market for private dental services was already highly concentrated. In addition, the FCCA considered that no new operators who could reduce the adverse competitive effects of the acquisition were likely to enter the market.

The FCCA approved the merger subject to conditions. Colosseum Dental Group committed to selling one of its clinics in all four municipalities, to not recruiting dentists from the dental clinics it is selling in the next two years, and to not buying the sold clinics back in the next 10 years.

FCCA conditional approval in Avarn Security/Prevent 360

In October 2018, the FCCA conditionally approved the acquisition of Prevent 360 Holding Oy by Avarn Security Holding AS (Avarn), part of the Norwegian Sector Alarm Group. The companies offer manned guarding and security services to the public sector and to corporate clients.

The FCCA launched Phase II investigations in July 2018, arguing that the acquisition might affect competition in the security services market. According to the FCCA, the acquisition would concentrate the market even further and reduce competition especially between companies offering manned guarding and security services nationally.

According to the FCCA, the investigations revealed that the acquisition would have adverse competitive effects on the market segment of large clients and would reduce the number of main market operators from three to two. The FCCA approved the merger subject to conditions. Avarn committed to divesting a part of the merging entity's manned guarding and security services business, and to subcontracting manned patrol guarding services, alarm response services, and alarm receiving centre services to its competitors or potential competitors for a period of three years.

FCCA approval in Terveystalo/Attendo

In December 2018, the FCCA approved the acquisition of Attendo Terveyspalvelut Oy (Attendo) by Terveystalo Healthcare Oy (Terveystalo). Both companies provide healthcare services.

The FCCA initiated Phase II investigations in July 2018 because it considered that the transaction could have adverse effects on competition in the Finnish market for healthcare services. In October 2018, the Market Court extended the time limit for the investigations at the FCCA's request due to the planned healthcare and social services reform, which is currently under parliamentary review, and the uncertainties related to the form and execution of the reform. The FCCA assessed the effects of the acquisition both in the market situation preceding the planned reform and following it. The FCCA based its assessment of the post-reform market on, among other things, a view of how competition would function in a new 'freedom of choice' market. The FCCA came to the conclusion that there were only minor overlaps in the business operations of the companies, and that the acquisition would not significantly impede effective competition.

ii Trends, developments and strategies

The FCCA has itself noted that the need for reform of the Finnish merger control provisions should be investigated, including an assessment of whether the current turnover thresholds are still appropriate.22

iii Outlook

As mentioned above, amendments to the Competition Act with regard to, among other things, some aspects of merger control are under consideration. The Government Bill on amendments to the Competition Act includes proposals for changes regarding, among other things, the FCCA's handling times in merger control. Pursuant to the proposal, the deadlines of Phase I and II investigations would be calculated in working days instead of calendar days. Instead of the current one-month deadline, the deadline for Phase I investigations would be changed to 23 working days. Likewise, Phase II investigations would be carried out in 69 working days instead of three months.

In practice, there has been a significant change in the length of review periods in merger control. Among other things, in 2017 and 2018 the FCCA requested the Market Court to extend the deadline of Phase II investigations in four cases. Before then, the practice had been highly exceptional.

Nevertheless, no major developments are expected to take place in Finnish merger control in the immediate future. The FCCA anticipates that there will be a significant number of problematic transactions likely to have particularly serious effects on competition.23

VII CONCLUSIONS

i Pending cases and legislation

In addition to the Coach Company and EPS Insulation cases, there are currently two other major public enforcement cases pending before the courts.24 As for merger control, there are currently no Phase II investigations pending in the FCCA.

As previously mentioned, amendments to the Competition Act are currently being prepared. In March 2017, shortly before the publication of the European Commission's proposal for a directive intended to empower Member States' competition authorities to be more effective enforcers25 (ECN+ directive) a working group appointed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment submitted a report suggesting amendments to the Act.26 In May 2018, a Government Bill27 on amendments to the Competition Act was presented to the Parliament, and it is currently under parliamentary review.

The proposed amendments concern, among other things, the FCCA's inspection powers, the FCCA's handling times and the exchange of information between national authorities. The first amendments to the Competition Act are intended to take effect as soon as possible. The implementation process of the ECN+ directive,28 which was signed into law in December 2018, into national law is expected to result in further amendments.

ii Analysis

2018 was a busy year for the FCCA regarding merger control. It conducted Phase II investigations in nine cases, which is an all-time high in the FCCA's history. In the field of antitrust, the FCCA submitted a penalty payment proposal in the EPS Insulation case and conducted some investigations concerning suspected anticompetitive behaviour. The legislative process aiming to amend the Competition Act will continue in 2019.


Footnotes

1 Tapani Manninen is a senior adviser and Anette Laulajainen is an associate at Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd. Meri Vanhanen worked as an associate trainee at the firm in spring 2019.

2 948/2011.

3 480/1992 (annulled).

4 Government Bill 68/2018.

5 Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union.

6 1077/2016.

7 One of the most important aspects of this new task is the supervision of significant errors and omissions, such as illegal direct awards of contract.

8 Immunity from and reduction of fines in cartel cases: Guidelines on the application of the Competition Act, 2/2011.

9 Guidelines on immunity from and reduction of penalty payments in cartel cases: Guidelines on the application of the Competition Act (2016).

10 The application was made in the Raw Wood Procurement infringement case.

11 According to Government Bill 88/2010 (p. 23), there had been approximately 10 leniency applications by June 2010.

12 FCCA press release, 20 February 2012.

13 The highest cartel fines in Finland to date were imposed in the Asphalt case in 2009 (totalling €82.6 million). For example, the fines in the Raw Wood Procurement infringement case in 2009 amounted to €51 million in total. The Asphalt case is partly still pending before the courts as damages claims.

14 Judgment of the Market Court of 26 June 2014, record No. 458/12/KR and record No. 36/13/KR.

15 See, for instance, decisions of the FCCA in Liikennevakuutuskeskus of 20 December 2012, record No. 130/14.00.00/2011, Fonecta Oy of 1 October 2012, record No. 452/14.00.00/2011, and Alko Oy, Stella Wines Oy of 19 March 2012, record No. 764/14.00.00/2011.

16 FCCA strategy paper for 2015–2018, p. 3.

17 The FCCA's Guidelines on Market-Based Pricing, 2017.

18 See the Act on the Application of Certain State Aid Provisions of the European Union (300/2001), Government Decree on the Notification Procedures concerning State Aid to the Commission (89/2011) and the Act on the Openness and Obligation to Provide Information on Economic Activities Concerning Certain Undertakings (19/2003).

19 395/1987.

20 See, for instance, judgments of the Supreme Administrative Court of 16 February 2018, record No. 673; 13 May 2015, record No. 1234; 23 January 2014, record No. 148; 30 November 2012, record No. 3326; 9 February 2012, record No. 192; 27 June 2011, record No. 1765; 6 April 2011, record No. 949; 6 April 2011, record No. 951.

21 Protocol on the system of public broadcasting in the Member States (OJ C 340, 10 November 1997) and Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting (OJ C 257, 27 October 2009).

22 FCCA press release, 5 October 2018.

23 FCCA strategy paper for 2015–2018, p. 1, and FCCA strategy paper for 2018–2021, p. 1.

24 On 29 February 2016, the Market Court found that the Finnish Bakery Federation had given price recommendations to its members with the intention of restricting competition. On 30 March 2016, the Market Court dismissed the FCCA's penalty payment proposal on power line constructors Eltel Networks Oy and Eltel Group Oy for their participation in an alleged competition infringement as time barred. Both cases are currently pending before the SAC.

25 Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, COM(2017) 142 final, 22 March 2017.

26 Report of the working group on reforming the Competition Act, 14 March 2017. Publications of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, 16/2017.

27 Government Bill 68/2018.

28 Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market.