The International and Regulatory Affairs Department is constantly committed to managing relations with institutions and organisations, in monitoring existing regulations and in conducting attentive advocacy on any bills that could impact the activities of the Group and of its stakeholders at the national, European and international level, with a view to limiting legal, economic and reputational risk and developing new opportunities.
The Department constantly monitors and promotes free competition, working to ensure that the international, European and national rules and procedures on competition are effectively applied and complied with. Furthermore, it is committed to disseminating a culture of compliance with the antitrust regulations at all levels of the Group and with third-party stakeholders, trade partners, suppliers and customers.
With a view to further strengthening monitoring activities, a partial review was launched with regard to the Policy of Compliance with European Union Competition Law - adopted in 2009 - in order to incorporate some regulatory innovations and new legislative and case law guidelines regarding promotion and acknowledgement by the Supervisory Authorities of antitrust compliance programmes, merger rules, corporate governance, state aids and unfair commercial practices.
Consequently, the scope of activities was extended not only with regard to the most traditional antitrust forms (mergers, abuses of dominant positions and agreements), but also regarding EU regulations on state aids and the recent Italian regulations in support of Italy's competitiveness. The choice to adopt an actual Antitrust Compliance Programme, which goes beyond regulations, involves the adoption of higher standards of conduct, in respect of which the Unit continued carrying out a series of information and training activities involving its internal and external stakeholders, in the belief that protection and development of competition benefit all.
With regard to antitrust proceedings involving the Group companies, one proceeding in Italy and two in Hungary are currently pending before the competent Authorities.
With regard to antitrust proceedings involving different Group companies, in Italy the proceeding involving MasterCard and some licensee banks (including Intesa Sanpaolo) for an alleged agreement restricting competition in the field of credit card payments was concluded. The Council of State, ruling on the substance of the case, definitively revoked the measure by which the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) had sanctioned MasterCard and its Italian licensees in November 2010, thus ascertaining the propriety of Intesa Sanpaolo's operations vis-à-vis MasterCard. At present two proceedings are pending before the competent authorities in Hungary.