On 16 November, during the anniversary conference on promotion of fair competition “Towards fair competition: past, present, tomorrow” former and the current chairpersons of the competition authority, representatives of the state and local governments as well as entrepreneurs discussed the achievements of application of the competition law over passed during 25 years and future challenges of the entrepreneurship.

In 2017, 25 years have passed since the legal competition framework takes care for environment of fair competition in Latvia, and especially established authority is supervising the compliance with it. In order to look back on the obstacles overcome during these years, upon the change of market economics and following the principles of fair competition, the Competition Council of Latvia organised the anniversary conference, inviting the representatives of state and local governments, entrepreneurs, foreign cooperation partners and other persons involved in the application of law.

The introductory speech during the anniversary conference on the meaning of competition law for the Latvian economics and public in general was made by the Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Economics Arvils Ašeradens, as well as the Chairwoman of the Competition Council Skaidrīte Ābrama. While Michal S. Gal, one of the most recognized experts in the competition law and economics, honoured with the introductory presentation about the development of competition in small economies and new market models developed by companies on the digital environment, influence thereof to consumers in the future.

The conference was held in three panel discussions, the first out of which was dedicated to the competition authority, therefore all former leaders of the authority and current Chairwoman Skaidrīte Ābrama took part in it. The role of the moderator of the discussion was entrusted to the academician Dr. econ. Raita Karnīte. Taking into account the fact that the competition authority, the competition law and culture as well as the environment of economics have rapidly changed during 25 years, the participants of the discussion introduced the audience with characteristics of each period of time and the challenges over passed. Special emphasis was made to the reputation of the authority and the meaning of employees thereof in the achievements made.

The second panel discussion, which was lead by the Member of the European Parliament, Dr. oec. Roberts Zīle, was dedicated to the compliance of the current regulation of the industry and activities of public persons with the principles of fair competition in the industries significant for society, including in health care, agriculture and regional development. Representatives of ministries met during the discussion and provided their opinion regarding interaction of the competition law with the development of industries represented by them.

During the final panel discussion, the duties of moderator of which were undertaken by the Associate Professor of Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Dr. Arnis Sauka, entrepreneurs and the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission Rolands Irklis met. Participants of the discussion shared their visions about changes in the traditional forms of economics, future possibilities for entrepreneurship development, meaning of regulatory enactment and neutral activities of public persons for promotion of development of competition.

Participants of the conference remarked the achievements of the competition authority during this period of time, highlighting in particular both, the achievements of the authority itself as well as significant importance of support provided by entrepreneurs during this period of time for development of competition legislation, public education and protection of competition culture. Besides, the participants emphasized challenges in the future, establishing environment of fair competition for business and consumers as well as understanding of the state, local governments and public persons on the environment of fair competition.

Meanwhile the Competition Council received guests – representatives of the competition authorities of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia – in order to discuss the common competition challenges of small economies and to discuss further cooperation opportunities for delivering the good practices of application of competition law in the future.

Highlights of the conference