Prague, Czechia EU ANTITRUST: HOT TOPICS & NEXT STEPS 2022 Universal Competition Rules in a Globalised, Post-COVID and Green World: Will the Explosion of Exemptions and Protectionism Destroy Our Own Competitiveness? Petr Mlsna Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition třída Kpt. Jaroše 7, 605 55 Brno Czechia As we all know; the whole world has been undergoing an extremely difficult period. The reduction in global economic growth caused by the pandemic and the measures needed to control it are resonating through disrupted supply chains in many sectors and a sudden rise in inflation which is manifested, in particular, by an extraordinary increase in the prices of energy and building materials. For all competition authorities, this period has meant a certain slowdown in activity and, at least for a time. That was mainly a matter of on-site inspections, as it was not possible to carry them out in the usual way due to safety reasons. The Office for the Protection of Competition was no exception, although we did our best to minimise the impact of the pandemic on our procedures. We did our best and returned to dawn raids relatively quickly, compared to some other competition authorities. In particular, in late summer and in autumn, we conducted a record number of dawn raids in the overall history of the Office. Our goal was to help undertakings affected by the pandemic and to give them advice on what practices we are able to tolerate under given conditions. For this purpose, we published a number of press releases on our website and also offered the opportunity to consult on possibly anticompetitive practices. In general, however, it can be said that the regular decision-making activity of the Office has continued in a broadly standard mode even in constrained conditions. In the past year, we have also launched a large-scale sector inquiry in the pharmaceutical sector, in which we are analysing the state of competition in the markets of the distribution of human prescription medicinal products and medicinal products covered by public health insurance. We also plan to focus on the competition aspects of direct distribution channels in this area. The investigation is intended to identify possible market dysfunctions in the given area and, in particular, to help formulate recommendations for the adoption of pro-competitive measures in the markets in question. Since my appointment, have been aware that the economic downturn and inflation we are now experiencing will lead to an increase in anticompetitive behaviour. We must therefore accept that the age of prosperity is over. Some undertakings are struggling to survive, others are facing serious problems and


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