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​​​​​​​Public consultation on Draft Regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines under Article 80 of Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, following the entry into force of Law No. 17/2022 of August 17

14-03-2024

​​​​​​​Public consultation on Draft Regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines under Article 80 of Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, following the entry into force of Law No. 17/2022 of August 17

Following the entry into force of Law No. 17/2022 of August 17, transposing Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 11, 2018, which aims to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to apply the law more effectively and ensure the proper functioning of the internal market ("ECN+ Directive"), the legal framework for competition, approved by Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, was amended, as well as the statutes of the Competition Authority, approved by Decree-Law No. 125/2014 of August 18.
Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, as amended by Law No. 17/2022 of August 17 ("New Competition Law"), provides in its Article 80 for the Competition Authority to approve a regulation of the administrative procedure regarding the processing of requests for exemption or reduction of fines.
Considering that the content of Regulation No. 1/2013 of the AdC, of January 3, which regulated this matter in recent years, has been almost entirely transposed into Articles 80-A to 80-E of the New Competition Law, it is necessary to adopt a new regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines, in accordance with the new legal provisions, taking particularly into account the need to meet the legitimate interests of potential applicants and other stakeholders, as well as the need to protect and pursue the public interest underlying the mission of the Competition Authority.
The Draft Regulation on the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines, now open for public consultation pursuant to Article 66 of the Competition Law, seeks to address these needs, as well as to update the procedure regarding this matter, as a result of the Authority's experience, notably in administrative penalty proceedings for violation of Articles 9 of Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, and 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU").
The aforementioned Project aims to regulate Articles 80-A to 80-E of the Competition Law, as well as to enable better coordination with other articles of this legal framework, highlighting, among others, the following aspects of the document submitted for public consultation:

  1. Detailed specification of the elements that must be included in requests for exemption or reduction of fines and how they should be presented (cf. Articles 2 and 3 and paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Draft).
  2. A summary form for requesting exemption or reduction of fines has been outlined and included in the Draft, in Portuguese and English, as required by paragraph 2 of Article 80-B of the New Competition Law and paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the ECN+ Directive (cf. paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the Draft and Annex thereto).
  3. The concept of "significant additional value" provided for in paragraph a) of paragraph 1 of Article 78 and paragraph 3 of the same provision has been elaborated and clarified (cf. paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 of Article 6 of the Draft).
  4. A provision is introduced to facilitate the coordination of the institutes of exemption and reduction of fines and settlement, in order to enhance the use of these (cf. paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Draft).
  5. It is expressly provided that the applicant cannot perform contradictory or materially inconsistent acts with their request or with elements that are part of it, under penalty of not obtaining exemption or reduction of fines (cf. paragraph 3 of Article 8 of the Draft).
  6. In order to encourage requests for exemption or reduction of fines, it is clarified that their granting will include exemption from the application of the ancillary sanction provided for in paragraph b) of paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the New Competition Law (cf. paragraph 5 of Article 8 of the Draft).

    In light of the foregoing, the Competition Authority, in compliance with Article 66 of the New Competition Law and paragraph 1 of Article 100 of the Administrative Procedure Code, submits for public consultation, for a period of 30 working days, the Draft Regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines, inviting any interested parties to submit their comments on it until April 26, 2024, to the following email address: consultapublica@concorrencia.pt.
    The comments submitted must contain the identity of the interested party, as well as their contact information and indicate the subject "Draft Regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines".
    The results of the public consultation will be published on the Authority's official website, therefore, the comments must, if applicable, be accompanied by a non-confidential version and their confidentiality justification, under penalty of being considered non-confidential.

 

Appendix to Draft Regulation regarding the procedure for processing requests for exemption or reduction of fines under Article 80 of Law No. 19/2012 of May 8, following the entry into force of Law No. 17/2022 of August 17
Template for the submission of a summary application for immunity from or reduction of fines
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