Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Communications Market Regulation
105. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when he expects to progress the programme for Government commitment to enable regulatory bodies such as ComReg, the Central Bank and the CCPC to have greater use of administrative penalties to sanction rogue operators, as is the norm in other EU Member States; when he expects the Competition Bill (ECN+) to be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43816/20]
Directive 2019/1/EU (the ECN+ Directive) will empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. It is due to be transposed by 4th February 2021. In Ireland, it is intended to transpose the ECN+ Directive by primary legislation.
This legislation will provide .ew powers for the CCPC and ComReg to impose administrative fines on undertakings for failure to comply with investigations into potential breaches of competition law and to bring infringing behaviours discovered to an effective end.
My Department chairs an Interdepartmental and Interagency Group comprising of representatives from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the Courts Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, ComReg and the CCPC to contribute to the drafting of the General Scheme of a Bill. This Group met most recently on Monday, 14th December last. The Department has also worked closely with the Office of the Attorney General, on preparing the General Scheme for this Bill.
The Tánaiste will seek Government approval for the drafting of the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2021, which will transpose ECN+ Directive.
The Tánaiste and I have already written to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment seeking an early date for consideration of pre-legislative scrutiny for this Bill in January 2021, to assist with its timely progression through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Bill will also partially implement the Programme for Government commitment to enable the CCPC and ComReg to make greater use of administrative penalties to sanction rogue operators, as was referred to in the Action Plan for Insurance Reform which the we launched last week (8th December).