Directive 2019/1/EU to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market is due for transposition by 4 February 2021. In transposing the ECN+ Directive, the Department is liaising with the Department’s Legal Advisors and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) on what additional powers could be given to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and ComReg in order to fully transpose the Directive. It is intended to transpose the ECN+ Directive by primary legislation by the transposition date.
The Directive contains a framework of rules to ensure that National Competition Authorities (NCAs) have the necessary powers and resources to effectively apply Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The CCPC, ComReg, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Irish Courts are National Competition Authorities (NCAs) in Ireland for the purposes of EU competition law.
The Department chairs an Interdepartmental Committee comprising of representatives from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, the Courts Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, ComReg and the CCPC to contribute to the drafting of the General Scheme of a Bill. A comprehensive request for legal advice is awaited from the AGO to facilitate finalisation of the General Scheme.
Once the Department receives the AGO’s legal advice the full scope of the implementing legislation will be decided by the Cabinet prior to the publication of the General Scheme. In bringing forward this legislation we seeking to implement the Programme for Government commitment to enable the CCPC to make greater use of administrative penalties to sanction rogue operators.
The Department has been liaising closely with the CCPC in order to identify and ensure that the necessary resources will in place to effectively implement the new provisions in the forthcoming legislation.