Cyprus: from the enforcer
Email: [email protected]
Questions and answers
How long is the head of agency’s term of office?
According to section 9(4) of the Laws for the Protection of Competition 2008 to 2014 (the Law), the term of office of the chairman of the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) is five years and may be renewed once only. It is notable that where the office of the chairperson or other member of the CPC becomes vacant before the expiry of his term of office, the term of office of the chairperson or other member of the CPC who is appointed for his or her first appointment for the remainder of the term of office of the chairperson or other member whose office has become vacant shall be renewable twice, provided that his or her first appointment was for a period less than two years and six months.
When is he or she due for reappointment?
Loukia Christodoulou was appointed on 24 April 2018 and her term of office expires on the 23 April 2023.
Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?
According to section 9 of the Law, the Council of Ministers, on the basis of a proposal of the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry appoints the chairperson and the members of the CPC.
What is the agency’s annual budget?
The CPC’s budget for 2021 is €1.89 million.
How many staff are employed by the agency?
The CPC currently employs 17 professionals (lawyers, economists and accountant) as well as seven secretarial and administrative personnel. As from 1 December 2021, nine more officers will be employed by the CPC.
To whom does the head of the agency report?
The CPC is an independent administrative body. As per section 48 of the Law, it submits an annual report of its activities to the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry and the House of Representatives.
Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?
No. However, the Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications & Postal Regulation and the Regulator of Energy are required to liaise with the CPC before taking some relevant decisions under their own competency.
If so, how do these relate to your role?
The regulators consult with the CPC whenever competition issues arise for which it is provided to act so in their legislation.
May politicians overrule or disregard authority decisions? If they have ever exercised this right, describe the most recent example.
No. The CPC’s decisions can only be annulled by the Administrative and Supreme Courts. Thus nobody can disregard them. However, in the case of merger law, the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry may intervene but only under specific conditions that relate to public security, the plurality of the media and sound administration.
Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when your agency takes decisions?
Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this? Has any competition decision by the agency been overturned?
The decisions of the CPC are reviewable by the Administrative Court of the Republic of Cyprus. The judgment of the Administrative Court can be appealed to the Supreme Court. Some decisions have been annulled by the Administrative Court but most decisions have been upheld. In some cases decisions annulled by the Administrative Court were reversed by the Supreme Court.
Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
Yes. The CPC has imposed conditions on several proposed mergers through the years. This year there were no merger cases with imposed conditions.
Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
Yes. This year, the CPC is currently conducting a Phase II investigation in a merger case.
Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
Do you operate an immunity and leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact? What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?
Yes. The potential applicants should contact the CPC. Regulation 22 of the Leniency Programme (Immunity from and Reduction of Administrative Fines in cases of Restrictive Collusions Infringing section 3 of the Law or article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Leniency Programme) Regulations, of 2011 (P.I. 463/2011)) states the following:
22.- (1) The Commission shall take its final decision on the application for granting a reduction of an administrative fine in its decision in relation to the alleged infringement in which it shall specify the following:
- whether the evidence submitted by the applicant undertaking had significant added value in relation to the evidence that the Commission had in its possession at the time;
- whether the conditions set out in Regulation 5 are met;
- the level of reduction of the administrative fine that an undertaking may benefit from, particularly-
- for the first undertaking which complies with Regulation 16: a reduction of 30-50 per cent,
- for the second undertaking which complies with Regulation 16: a reduction of 20-30 per cent,
- For subsequent undertakings which comply with Regulation 16: a reduction of up to 20 per cent.
Are there any plans to reform the competition law?
Yes, there are. The CPC has prepared new legislation that will replace the existing law to transpose the EU Directive 1/2019 (ECN+). The draft legislation is currently under discussion by the Cyprus Parliament.
When did the last review of the law occur?
In March 2014, the Protection of Competition Law 13(I)/2008 was amended with Law 41(I)/2014, and in June 2014 the Law for Control of Concentrations between Enterprises Law 22(I)/99 was replaced with Law 83(I)2014.
Do you have a separate economics team? If so please give details.
Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it?
Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?
No. Due to the covid-19 restrictions the authority could not conduct a dawn raid.
Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?
We do not have a pre-notification procedure.
Are there any restrictions on investments that involve less than a majority stake in the business?
No. The Control of Concentrations between undertakings Law 83(I)/2014 does not provide for any restrictions on investments.
Cyprus: from the enforcer's competition economists
Address: 53 Strovolos Avenue, Victory Building, 2018 Strovolos, Cyprus
Tel: +357 2260 6600
Fax: +357 2230 4944
Email: [email protected]
Questions and answers
How many economists do you employ?
Seven. Two more will be employed by 1 December 2021.
Do you have a separate economics unit, or ‘bureau’?
We do not have a separate economics unit.
Do you have a chief economist?
To whom does the chief economist report?
Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?
How many economists have a PhD in industrial economics?
Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?
Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – Is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?
The economists employed by the Commission for the Protection of Competition are part of the case handlers team and are therefore involved in the investigations. The Commission for the Protection of Competition considers the contribution of the economists in the investigation of cases to be an important part of its work.
How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?
The economist team’s work may be supplemented by work that is outsourced on some important cases, as the need arises.