Bill: Competition and Consumer Agency to open on 1 January 2013
The present Finnish Competition Authority and Consumer Agency will be merged to form a new Competition and Consumer Agency, which is to open on 1 January 2013. The Government submitted a Bill concerning the new agency and related legislation to Parliament on 17 September 2012.
The purpose of the proposed merger is to enhance the importance of consumer and competition affairs in society and to streamline administration. The purpose of the new agency will be to ensure a healthy and functioning market where enterprises and other players act responsibly and with regard to consumer interests.
The Bill states that the current statutory duties of the authorities involved are not to be changed. The domain of the new agency is to incorporate implementation of competition policy and consumer policy, ensuring the smooth functioning of the market, enforcing competition legislation and EU competition rules, and securing the economic and legal rights of consumers.
The proposed Competition and Consumer Agency is to have separate divisions for competition affairs and consumer affairs. The director of consumer affairs is also to be the Consumer Ombudsman, and the statutory duties and authority of the Consumer Ombudsman are not to be changed.
The director general of the new Competition and Consumer Agency is not to have the authority to decide on matters falling within the purview of the Consumer Ombudsman. The Consumer Ombudsman is, as at present, to be able to submit proposals and initiatives for correcting flaws and shortcomings observed in the course of his/her monitoring duties.
The monitoring activities of the competition affairs division and the consumer affairs division are to be organised so that they are independent of one another. Information used in the monitoring of competition affairs on the one hand or consumer affairs on the other may only be used by the other division if that information is contained in a published decision.
The new agency is to have a budget of EUR 11 million in 2013 and about 150 employees.
The Government Bill is available at the website of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy: www.tem.fi/lakihankkeet
Raimo Luoma, Director General, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 50 413 5500
Tapio Laamanen, Commercial Counsellor, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 50 375 6249