On September 16, 2021, the National Competition Authority of Greece — the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) — conducted unannounced on-site inspections (“dawn raids”) in the premises of businesses operating in the sectors of the import/manufacturing, wholesale, and retail trade of school bags, children’s lunch bags, and pencil cases. The raids were the latest of a series of unannounced inspections that the HCC carried out during the summer. Previously, the HCC conducted dawn raids in the premises of undertakings active in:
- The supply and retail of the supermarket products sector, particularly in the markets for cereals, milk, coffee, jam, beverages, and cheese (raids on September 9).
- Public tenders for the provision of IT systems (raids on September 7).
- The catering service provision market (raids in the month of July).
- Public tenders for the construction of natural gas networks and relevant equipment and material (raids on July 14).
- The import, wholesale, and retail markets of power-driven hand tools and garden tools (raids on June 24).
- The online wholesale and retail markets of telecommunications and teleconferencing equipment and related equipment, spare parts, and software (raids on June 11).
- Public tenders related to energy saving and upgrades of lighting systems and the supply of relevant equipment (raids on June 8).
The HCC carries out unannounced inspections in accordance with the authority granted to it under article 39 of Law 3959/2011 on the Protection of Free Competition (Greek Competition Act).Some commentators have noted that the unannounced inspections by the HCC appear to be part a Europe-wide trend of competition authorities at the national and European Union levels to resume dawn raids in the summer of 2021 following a pause in raids due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related lock-downs.