The European, Middle Eastern and African Antitrust Review 2017

Croatia: Overview

20 July 2016

Croatian competition law is built on two legal sources: the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia on the one hand, and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) together with the entire EU competition acquis on the other. Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia proclaims that entrepreneurial and market freedom shall be the basis of the domestic economic system, that the state shall ensure an equal legal status to all undertakings on the market and that abuse of monopolies is forbidden. Such constitutional provisions present the basis for the development of domestic competition law rules aimed at the realisation of free market competition. The first Croatian Competition Act was enacted in 1995 and resulted in a systematic regulation of the Croatian competition law for the first time. In 2003, a new law was adopted that tried to deal with several inconsistencies and shortcomings of the 1995 Act. Bearing in mind its strong determination to accede to EU membership, Croatia strived to harmonise its law with EU competition law. As a consequence, the 2003 Act has to a large extent already been deemed harmonised with the acquis. However, the largest shortfall of the 2003 legislation has been its slow and poor execution – namely the sanctioning of infringements by the misdemeanour courts, which eventually resulted in inadequate protection of the free market competition.

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