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oral observations with the permission of the court in question. The Commission decided to intervene as amicus curiae pursuant to Article 15(3) of Regulation 1/2003 in a case in the Netherlands concerning the tax deductibility of Commission competition fines.

93.

Continuous training and education of national judges in EU competition law is very important in order to ensure both effective and coherent application of those rules. Since 2002, the Commission has co-financed 35 training projects, which have provided for the training of approximately 3 500 judges by the end of 2007. A new legal base was adopted on 25 September126. On the basis of the corresponding Work Programme 2007, a call for proposals for training national judges in EC competition law was launched at the end of 2007127.

4.

INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES

94.

In the context of Enlargement, candidate countries must fulfil a number of requirements in the competition field as a condition for acceding to the European Union, including the adoption of national legislation compatible with the EU acquis. They must also put in place the necessary administrative capacity and demonstrate a credible enforcement record. DG Competition provides technical assistance and support to help the candidate countries fulfil these requirements, and it continuously monitors the extent to which the candidate countries are prepared for accession.

95.

During 2007 cooperation was particularly close with Croatia and Turkey. These two candidate countries must fulfil “opening benchmarks” before accession negotiations on the competition chapter can start. DG Competition assisted the Western Balkan countries in further aligning their competition rules with EU law.

96.

The Commission cooperates with numerous competition authorities on a bilateral basis, in particular with the authorities of the European Union’s major trading partners. The European Union has entered into dedicated cooperation agreements in competition matters with the United States, Canada and Japan.

97.

In the course of the year, DG Competition and the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) met on several occasions to negotiate a bilateral cooperation agreement in the competition field.

98.

Moreover, DG Competition played an active role in the ongoing negotiations on Free Trade Agreements with India and South Korea, and on the trade part of the Association Agreements with the Andean Community with a view to ensuring that anti-competitive practices (including State aid) do not erode the trade and other economic benefits sought through those agreements.

99.

DG Competition continued to play a leading role in the International Competition Network (ICN).

EN

126

127

EN

Decision of the European Parliament and the Council No. 1149/2007/EC of 25 September 2007, establishing for the period 2007-2013 the specific programme “Civil Justice” (OJ L 257 of 3.10.2007, p. 16). The budget foreseen for these action grants in 2007 is EUR 800 000.

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