The Monopolies Commission is a permanent, independent expert committee which advises the German government and legislature in the areas of competition policy-making, competition law, and regulation. Its reports are published.
Its role and its competences are set out in §§ 44 - 47 of the Act Against Restraints on Competition (ARC) (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, GWB), as well as in the Railway Regulation Act (Eisenbahnregulierungsgesetz, ERegG), the Law on the Energy Industry (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz, EnWG), the Telecommunications Act (Telekommunikationsgesetz, TKG), and the Postal Services Act (Postgesetz, PostG) (all links in German).
Section 44(1) of Act Against Restraints on Competition (ARC) (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, GWB) entrusts the Monopolies Commission with the task to prepare Biennial Reports ("Hauptgutachten") assessing the current status and the expected developments of company concentration in the Federal Republic of Germany, reviewing the application of the rules and legislation on merger control, and commenting on other topical issues of competition policy.
In addition, the Monopolies Commission publishes Special Reports ("Sondergutachten") pursuant to the ARC and sector-specific regulation. Under the ARC, this is provided for in the following cases:
- in Ministerial Authorisation Proceedings (§ 42(4)(2));
- by the Government Special request (§ 44(1)(3)); and
- at the Monopolies Commission's own discretion (§ 44(1)(4)).
In addition, the Monopolies Commission has statutory mandates for Special Reports in the field of network industries. It reviews - on a biennial basis - the development of competition in:
- the markets of grid-bound electricity and gas supply (§ 62 of the Law on the Energy Industry);
- the area of railway transport (§ 78 of the Railway Regulation Act);
- the telecommunications markets (§ 121(2) of the Telecommunications Act); and
- the markets of the postal sector (§ 44 of the Postal Services Act ("Postgesetz") in conjunction with § 121(2) of the Telecommunications Act).