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“National strategic importance” mergers to trump GVH

Competition

President Miklós Juhasz of the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) told national news service MTI yesterday that parliament has the right to enact laws removing certain matters from the organization's oversight.

A bill stipulating that the government would have the authority to declare mergers of “national strategic importance” exempt from the obligation to gain approval from GVH is currently before parliament.

Juhász declined to express an opinion of the bill, adding that the proposed legislation is of technical nature and corresponds to legislation adopted 17 years ago that grants parliament the right to pass laws that remove specified issues from the authority of GVH.

Juhász says that similar regulations exist in several other European Union states and also cited earlier exemptions such as a 2003 law on agrarian-market regulations or a law banning mergers between pharmacies.

The recent acquisition by state-owned Hungarian postal-service Magyar Posta of a stake in Takarékbank, the central bank of saving cooperatives, also took place without the approval of GVH or the financial-market regulator that existed at the time, PSzÁF.

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