In 2013, the Belgian Competition Authority received additional powers with regard to competition and price evolution. This competence is described in Book V CEL. The prices of goods and services applied by undertakings are determined by open competition, except for the prices of medicinal and similar products, which are defined in Article V.9 CEL.
Book V of the Code of Economic Law (CEL V) establishes a system within which:
- the Price Monitoring Authority analyses prices and margins, on its own initiative or at the Minister’s request, in order to identify any structural problems within the market, and
- When this is the case, the Competition College has the power to issue decisions for interim measures as required.
Thus, a referral is made to the Competition College when the Price Monitoring Authority submits its report identifying a problem with prices or margins, an abnormal price evolution or a structural problem within a market. During its hearing, the Competition College hears from the Price Monitoring Authority, the concerned parties mentioned in the latter’s report, and in the absence of such report, the organisations represented within the Central Economic Council and that represent the sector in question.
When the Competition College decides on interim measures, these will apply for up to six months. The Competition College informs the Minister of such measures, who within six months presents to the government a plan including a structural change of the operation of the market within the sector in question.
- For an overview of the procedure relative to interim measures, please refer to the simplified diagram.
For clarity’s sake, this diagram has been simplified; it is provided purely for information and is in no way binding on the Belgian Competition Authority.