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EC has ‘no comment’ on alleged Romanian EU competition-law violation


The European Commission has nothing to say about reports of anti-competitive behaviour by Romanian authorities.

News reports from the Balkan nation claim insurance brokers are being “subtly warned” by the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) about possible inspections and licence loss if they continue selling Bulgarian insurance across the border.

The Bulgarian insurance company Eurohold Bulgaria claimed that violates the EU’s core value of freedom to provide services. It has filed a complaint with the EU’s insurance watchdog, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).

Questioned by Brussels Signal, the EC response was “no comment” regarding the reports.

It did not indicate if it had been made aware of the official complaint, or whether it intended to investigate or take action.

The freedom to provide services is one of the four EU freedoms, as is freedom of movement for workers and goods. It is enshrined in Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It allows companies or people in the bloc to sell their services in any Member State, regardless of which EU country they are based in.

It is also considered increasingly important as the bloc’s economy becomes more digitalised.

The Eurohold Bulgaria complaint comes amid broader questions about the potential anti-competitive behaviour in the Romanian market and the EC’s failure to respond.

Earlier this year, the ASF revoked the licence of the insurance company Euroins, the Romanian branch of the Eurohold Bulgaria. The ASF declared that Euroins was effectively bankrupt but the Bulgarian company claimed that was the culmination of a years-long campaign of harassment by the Romanian authorities.

The result is that nearly 2 million Romanian motorists are expected to be left without insurance.

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) challenged the ASF’s claims after it commissioned its own independent report into Euroin’s finances, which it revealed were sound.

The issue came to the attention of Brussels as, despite that, the EIOPA sided with the ASF rather than Bulgaria and the ERBD.

When MEPs began asking parliamentary questions of the EC, it either dodged their enquiries or simply backed the EIOPA and the ASF.

“Sadly, the Commission all too often demonstrates a contempt for the European Parliament by trotting out ‘non-answers’ to the questions submitted by MEPs”, said German MEP Lars Patrick Berg.

Berg has called for an independent investigation into the matter.