The key novelty of this long awaited Merger Decree is the introduction of the possibility to submit merger notification in simplified form. Merger Decree introduces two “tracks” of the merger notification, i.e. it facilitates the burden of the statutory obligation to notify a concentration where specific circumstances of the case indicate that it will unlikely give rise to competition concerns, which justifies submission of a simplified notification.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia passed a new Decree on the Content and Manner of Submitting a Merger Notification (Merger Decree). Merger Decree is effective as of 2 February 2016, and hence all merger filings as of that date have to be in line with the Merger Decree. Aside from this bylaw, templates for merger notification in standard and simplified form, serving as an optional model for market participants, are also available on the website of the Serbian regulator, Commission for Protection of Competition (Commission).

Article 6 of the Merger Decree sets out the cases in which simplified merger notification is allowed (e.g. transition from joint to sole control). Still, it is to be noted that the Merger Decree sets out that the applicant will nonetheless be obliged to submit a standard notification if: (i) the circumstances of the case indicate that the concentration may give rise to competition concerns (some of which are explicitly mentioned in the Merger Decree, while others are left to the discretionary assessment of the Commission), or if (ii) the applicant expressly requires assessment of the so-called “ancillary restrains” (restraints that are directly related to, and necessary for, the implementation of the concentration).

The Commission has publicly expressed its openness to consultation with market participants prior to the submission of the notification, in order to eliminate any ambiguities in the application of the new Merger Decree (“pre-notification meeting”). According to the latest activities of the Commission, it can be clearly seen that the Commission is further committed to control compliance with the rules on merger notifications.