In line with the federal system, structuring and coordinating economic and financial policy is the joint task of central government, the federal states and municipalities. They cooperate in various committees. Furthermore, the Federal Government seeks the advice of independent economists. Every January the Federal Government presents to the Bundestag and the Bundesrat the Annual Economic Report, which among other things describes the government’s economic and financial goals for the year as well as the fundamentals of its planned economic and financial policy. One prerequisite for economic life in Germany being able to function is free competition, which is protected by the law against restrictions on competition. It prohibits anti-competitive practice on the part of both companies and the state. Likewise, company mergers, state subsidies and market barriers are assessed to establish whether they impair competition.