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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Statement of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection regarding the decision of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection on the case of PKN Orlen/Polska Press

< previous | next > 13.04.2021

Statement of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection regarding the decision of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection on the case of PKN Orlen/Polska Press

On 8 April, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection issued a decision in connection with the petition filed by the Ombudsman to suspend the execution of the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to approve the takeover of Polska Press by PKN Orlen until the Ombudsman's appeal has been examined by the court. In its decision, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection stated  that, until the settlement of the filed appeal, the parties of the transaction must refrain from the execution of the decision challenged by the Ombudsman.

The court, in its decision, did not refer to the  substantive issues of whether the decision was made in accordance with the Competition and Consumer Protection Act and in line with the criteria provided for by the law. The statement concerns only the issue of the possibility of ''suspending" the execution of the decision until the settlement of the appeal filed by the Ombudsman.

Please be advised that in accordance with the prescribed deadlines - on 7 April, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection referred the case and the case file to the court in connection with the appeal filed by the Ombudsman. According to the chronology of the events, the court, when issuing its decision, may not have been familiar with the position of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and with the case files that have been collected during the administrative procedure. Both the above-mentioned events and the content of the justification issued by the court, indicate that the court, at the stage of issuing the decision on the application of a very serious interim measure, did not undertake to assess the substantive premises for withholding the decision, including the lack of potential effects on competition. Similarly, it was not verified whether the application of the provisional measure was justified by the arguments raised by the Ombudsman.

According to the opinion of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, it was incorrectly assumed by the court that lodging the appeal against the decision should automatically result in the necessity to suspend it. Automatic suspension of any authorised approvals, when the doubts regarding the legitimacy of the decision do not find a solid basis, is a disturbing precedent that may undoubtedly infringe the rights of entrepreneurs. Such interpretation of regulations increases the uncertainty of the legal situation and may significantly delay the implementation of business transactions, generating a number of related risks, including those in the field of foreign investments.

Due to the fact that the session was closed to the public and the information was presented to the public by the Ombudsman yesterday, before the decision and the jurisdiction of the court was received, it was not possible to address the raised issue earlier. Further legal steps are currently being analysed, including the possibility of challenging the decision of the court. The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection intends to submit an application to the court to expedite the resolution regarding the appeal of the Ombudsman that concerns the issued decision. We believe that the circumstances of the issuance of the interim measure, including the failure of the court to familiarise itself with the position of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and with the submitted materials regarding the case, raises serious doubts as to whether the rights of entrepreneurs have been violated.

The appeal mainly concerns the allegation that the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection failed to take into account non-statutory premises for issuing the agreement, the analysis of which remains outside the competence of the competition authority. The more surprising is issuing an interim measure that interferes, to such an extent, with the rights of entrepreneurs without even a cursory legal analysis of the issue.  

We are convinced that the issued decision regarding the consent of the takeover of Polska Press by PKN Orlen is correct and therefore the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection hopes that the court will investigate the appeal filed by the Ombudsman as soon as possible.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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