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Irish Competition Authority needs more power and resources – Hayes

Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes, today (Thursday) said that boosting the powers of competition authorities for Ireland and EU countries would ensure a level playing field and fairness for all European business. This morning the European Parliament will be voting on its Annual report on competition policy.

“Tackling anti-competitive practices is in everyone’s interest – from consumers to businesses big and small – as it is vital for the very existence of the EU’s single market.

“And as is highlighted in the European Parliament’s Annual report on competition policy, we need to resource and support national competition authorities. We need to have confidence that they work hand in glove with DG Competition in reaching a truly European standard.

“I welcome the Commission’s proposals to boost the enforcement powers of national competition authorities. I support the ECN plus directive. It is essential that national authorities have all the powers they need.

“Specifically in the case of my own country, Ireland, we need to move to fines and enforcement proceedings for non-criminal breaches under competition law. Only applying enforcement for criminal breaches – is not a proper deterrent.

“Secondly, Ireland is the only country in the EU that has not introduced a leniency programme. This is crucial in encouraging businesses to come forward, to allow national authorities, to offer immunity or reductions in fines for evidence in anti-trust cases.

“From Ireland’s perspective, the importance of information sharing between the Irish and the UK’s competition authorities is crucial in taking cases. When the UK leaves the EU, it is really important that that cooperation continues as part of an overarching EU/UK agreement.”

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