The Euro Mediterranean Competition Forum is a cooperation initiative aiming at addressing competition law and policy issues in the Mediterranean Region. After a few meetings held in the margins of other competition international meetings, the Forum was established in Rabat (Morocco) in November 2012.
Two Workshops were agreed upon, the first was held in Geneva in the margins of the IGE in July 2013 and this, the second, was held in Tunis in November 2013.
The Workshop in Geneva dealt with competition advocacy towards the Government and Sector Regulators on the one hand, and towards the private sector on the other hand. The Competition Authority of Malta will host a Conference in the last quarter of 2014, where the issue whether to further formalise the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation will be discussed.
Purpose of the event
The Euro Mediterranean Competition Forum Workshop in Tunis aimed at exchanging experiences and addressing the problems relating to the enforcement of competition law in regulated sectors (energy, telecoms, transport, etc.).
Participants to the meeting included representatives of competition authorities and sector regulators from Algeria, Austria, Egypt, France, Morocco, Qatar and Tunis, representatives of the civil society from Egypt, Germany and Switzerland, and two representatives from the Competition and Consumer Protection Policies Branch of UNCTAD, including the Head of the Branch, Hassan Qaqaya.
Main problems identified were the lack of vision on the issue of competition on the side of Governments, the lack of clarity of legal frameworks as regards the division of competences and work between sector regulators and competition authorities, the fact that liberalisation has in many cases been understood as just privatization with competition considerations absent in the process, and the lack of "leveled playing field" between state-owned enterprises and private companies.
There is a need to advocate for more clarity in the legal framework and for more procompetitive reform in regulated sectors. Ideas to better the relationship between competition authorities and sector regulators would include the exchange of staff and sitting sector regulators in Competition meetings.