Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Inter-institutional Council for combating unfair competition

The Government Resolution no. 162/2016, published in the Official Gazette no. 209 of 22 March 2016, on the organization and functioning of the Inter-institutional Council for combating unfair competition, represents the measure adopted by the Government for the establishment of a new permanent and advisory body that aims to maintain a fair competitive market. According to art. 2 of G.R. 162/2016, the Inter-institutional Council makes connections and cooperates with government authorities and institutions, as well as any entity operating in specific areas with a relevant impact in maintaining a fair and competitive market that can provide support in order to achieve its objectives.
The composition of this new inter-institutional Council will consist of two representatives of each of the following institutions:
◦ Ministry of Finance;
◦ Competition Council;
◦ National Audiovisual Council;
◦ National Authority for Consumer Protection;
◦ State Office for Inventions and Trademarks;
◦ Romanian Office for Copyright.
The president of the Inter-institutional Council will be constituted by one of the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and will be appointed by order of the Minister of Public Finance, while the Competition Council will act as a secretariat. In the situation that the president of the Inter-institutional Council can’t fulfill his duties for objective reasons, the meetings of the Inter-institutional Council shall be chaired by a member of the Council appointed by the President during his absence or unavailability.
The attributions of the Inter-institutional Council, according to G.R. no. 162/2016, are the following:
◦ ensuring the consistency of the foundation and implementation of public policies in specific areas of activity that have a relevant impact in maintaining a fair competitive market;
◦ ensuring institutional communication in specific areas of activity with relevant impact in maintaining a fair competitive market;
◦ harmonizing the points of view of the institutions with attributions in the field at a national level;
◦ submitting to debate the results of the evaluation of specific legal framework of each authority with relevant impact in maintaining a fair and competitive market, as well as drafting proposals for improvement in accordance with EU regulations and practice in this area;
◦ preparing the annual report on the implementation of legislation with relevant impact in maintaining a fair competitive market for the preceding year;
◦ issuing advisory opinions in its field of competence, in order to maintain a fair competitive market.
Both the advisory opinions and the annual report on the implementation of legislation with relevant impact in maintaining a fair competitive market for the previous year must be approved unanimously by the members and will be forwarded for information to the institutions and authorities provided by law.
The above-mentioned Government Resolution also regulated the obligation of the institutions whose members make up the Inter-institutional Council to publish on their official websites both the advisory opinions of the Council, and its annual report.

For further information on the organization and functioning of the new Inter-institutional Council for Combating Unfair Competition, please don’t hesitate to contact the team of lawyers within the law firm Darie, Manea & associates who have extensive experience in commercial law.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Social enterprises, new type of companies in Romania

Law No. 219/2015 on social economy provides for the establishment of new types of enterprises, namely social enterprises and social enterprises of insertion.
The law went into effect in August 2015, setting forth that social enterprises can be represented by: cooperative societies of 1st degree, credit cooperatives, associations and foundations, unions of employees, unions of pensioners, agricultural companies, as well as any other categories of legal entities that meet the definition and principles of social economy, as set out in this law.
According to the law, the social economy contributes to the development of local communities, creating jobs and the involvement of persons belonging to vulnerable groups in social activities and / or economic activities, facilitating their access to community resources and services.
Law no. 292/2011 on social assistance defines "vulnerable group" in art. 6 letter p) as individuals or families who are at risk of losing their capacity to meet the needs of daily living because of cases of disease, disability, poverty, drug addiction or alcohol or other situations that lead to economic and social vulnerability.
The notion of "social enterprise" presented by the law refers to any private legal entity engaged in the social economy, which holds an attestation of social enterprise and complies with the national economy’s principles.
The status of a social enterprise is recognized by granting a certificate of social enterprise, certificate that is issued at the request of the legal entities listed above and is valid for a period of 5 years, with possibility of extension.
The criteria to be met by the social enterprise in order to obtain the certificate are:
◦ acting in a social and / or general interest of the community;
◦ allocates at least 90% of the profit to the social purpose and the statutory reserve;
◦ undertakes to submit the assets remaining after liquidation to one or more social enterprises;
◦ applies the principle of social equity to employees, ensuring fair wage levels, between which there can’t be differences exceeding the 1-8 ratio.
The obligations of social enterprises are as follows:
◦ communicates any changes of the constitutive acts or the acts of establishment to the employment agency, within 15 days of the change;
◦ communicates the activity reports and annual financial statements to the employment agency;
◦ publishes, within 3 months from the end of the calendar year, the annual social report on the developped activity and annual financial statements in the Unique Registry of evidence of social enterprises.
Social enterprises of insertion, on the other hand, are considered those social enterprises that:
◦ permanently have at least 30% of staff belonging to the vulnerable group, so as the cumulative working time of these employees represents at least 30% of the total working time of all employees;
◦ target the fight against exclusion, discrimination and unemployment through social and professional insertion of disadvantaged people.
Furthermore, the insertion social enterprises have an obligation to ensure, for employees who belong to the vulnerable group, accompaniment measures to guarantee the professional and social insertion.
Among the measures of accompaniment, the legal framework on social economy mentions: information, counseling, access to forms of training, adapting the workplace to a person's ability, accessibility of the workplace according to the needs of individuals as well as other measures aiming to support professional and social insertion.
Similar to social enterprises, the status of social enterprises of insertion is certified by awarding the social label, which represents a certificate valid for a period of 3 years starting from date of issue, as well as a specific element of visual identity which mandatorily applies to manufactures, executed works or documents that demonstrate the performance of a service.

Contact one of the lawyers within  the law firm Darie, Manea & Associates for more information on Law no. 219/2015 on social economy and social enterprises, social enterprises of insertion, as well as the means for their establishment in Romania. Do not hesitate to contact our time at any time you see fit for specialized, legal advice on this matter!