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The results of the successfully completed project "Strengthening Institutional and Technical Capacities of the Agency for Protection of Competition" were presented at Hotel Podgorica on 18 June 2019. The project, funded by the European Union with €250,000.00, aimed at improving the system of competition protection in Montenegro. The project was carried out by the Croatian Competition Agency in cooperation with the Agency for Protection of Competition of Montenegro.
In his complimentary speech, Herman Spitz, Head of Cooperation in the European Union Delegation to Montenegro, emphasized the importance of this project for the future work of the Agency for Protection of Competition, since competition policy is one of the cornerstones of the EU's internal market. "It is of the utmost importance to ensure an adequate number of competent staff in this particularly complex area - the competition area. Continuous and strong political support is necessary for the Agency to carry out its mandate," Spitz pointed out.
Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Montenegro, Mr. Veselko Grubišić, emphasized that the strengthening of the institutional and technical capacity of the Agency for Protection of Competition is of great importance for achieving conditions of equal opportunities for all businesses in Montenegro.
Croatian experts conducted a series of training sessions for Agency officials on applying the provisions of the Competition Protection Act. Seven representatives of the Agency participated in a study visit to Croatia where they learned more about the practice of this country and gained a direct insight into the practice of Croatian colleagues and their approach to solving the cases in the field of competition. Particularly useful was the visit to the IT laboratory where the Croatian Competition Agency processes digital evidence collected during surprise inspections in premises of undertakings.
Mrs. Lepa Aleksić, Director of the Agency for Protection of Competition of Montenegro, emphasized that the project fully achieved expectations in terms of employees training. As an important result of the project, she noted progress in the enforcement record and the implementation of a surprised inspection, which was carried out after extensive preparation and with the help of Croatian colleagues. "Through this project, we have established lasting links between our agency and the Croatian Agency, not only at the level of the heads of the institutions, but also at the operational level of the expert staff who will surely continue to share their experiences in everyday work," Aleksić said.
Mrs. Branimira Kovačević, Head of the International and European Co-operation in the Croatian Competition Agency, pointed out the recommendations for further work of the Montenegrin Agency, as concerns both the further improvement of the legal framework and strengthening of public awareness of the Agency's work and its importance for the Montenegrin economy. "It is important to continue with the efforts on educating employees of the Agency, as well as other institutions and business entities active in the market, in order to protect competition and ensure a level playing field, for the benefit of Montenegrin companies and end consumers," said Kovačević.