VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT: ŠIAULIAI CITY MUNICIPALITY GRANTED PRIVILEGES TO UAB BUSTURAS

On 15 September Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (hereinafter – Court) upheld the Competition Council‘s decision of 6 June 2016 whereby Šiauliai City Municipality (hereinafter – Municipality) restricted competition and consumer rights in the sector of passenger transportation services.

The Council found that the Municipality authorised UAB Busturas to provide passenger transportation services without a competitive procedure and thus discriminated against other undertakings able and willing to provide these services in Šiauliai city.

Moreover, on 15 January 2015 the Constitutional Court stated that an undertaking can be authorised to provide services without a competitive procedure only if other undertakings are not willing or able to provide them and satisfy common interests. In any case, separate undertakings or their groups cannot be privileged or discriminated against.

The Court‘s decision proves that municipalities must protect the freedom of fair competition and organize competitive procedures in order to ensure equal conditions for all service providers. We do hope that this decision will encourage municipalities to comply with the Constitutional Court‘s decision and the number of similar investigations will decrease.

                                                                 –Jūratė Šovienė, Deputy Chairperson of the Competition Council

It is already the second competition law infrigement by the Municipality in the last two years. In 2015 the Council found that the Municipality prevented independent heat producers from entering the heat production market in Šiauliai and breached Article 4 of the Law on Competition.