Competition weekly news summary
Friday, June 12, 2009

Court

  • C-429/07
    11 June 2009
    The Court of Justice ruled on a question referred by a Dutch Court on the interpretation of Regulation 1/2003. The Court confirmed that the Commission is competent, under Article 15(3) of Regulation N°1/2003, to submit on its own initiative observations in proceedings relating to a fine for infringement of EU competition rules, imposed by the Commission.
  • T-222/04, T-292/02, T-297/02, T-300/02, T-301/02, T-309/02 and T-189/03
    11 June 2009
    The Court of First Instance ruled on several appeals against a Commission decision of 5 June 2002 that had found state aid granted by Italy to certain public companies illegal and had ordered its recovery from the beneficiaries. The CFI rejected all claims and upheld the Commission's finding that the measures constitute illegal State aid that must be recovered.

Antitrust

  • Commission consults on regulatory strategy to promote very high speed Internet
    12 June 2009
    The Commission has launched a public consultation on revised proposals for the regulation of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband networks. In the light of comments from stakeholders on a previous consultation, the revised draft Recommendation includes mechanisms to allocate the investment risk between investors and operators seeking access to NGA networks. The public consultation will be open until 24 July 2009.
  • Commission consults on regulatory strategy to promote very high speed Internet in Europe – frequently asked questions
    12 June 2009
  • Commission market tests commitments proposed by Rambus concerning memory chips
    12 June 2009
    The Commission has invited comments from interested parties on commitments offered by microchip designer Rambus to meet concerns that it may have infringed Article 82 EC Treaty by claiming unreasonable royalties for the use of certain patents for “Dynamic Random Access Memory” chips (DRAMS). Rambus is prepared, in particular, to commit to put a cap on its royalty rates for five years. The cap includes a "Most-Favoured-Customer" clause which would ensure any future rate reductions would benefit the whole market. Interested parties can submit comments within one month from the date of publication.
  • Commission statement on Microsoft Internet Explorer announcement
    12 June 2009
    The Commission noted with interest Microsoft's announcement of its plans for Windows 7, and in particular of the apparent separation of Internet Explorer (IE) from Windows in the EEA. The Commission will shortly decide in the pending browser tying antitrust case whether or not Microsoft’s conduct from 1996 to date has been abusive and, if so, what remedy would be necessary to create genuine consumer choice and address the anticompetitive effects of Microsoft’s long-standing conduct. In terms of potential remedies if the Commission were to find that Microsoft had committed an abuse, the Commission has suggested that consumers should be offered a choice of browser, not that Windows should be supplied without a browser at all.
  • Commission market tests commitments proposed by IACS concerning ship classification market
    10 June 2009
    The Commission has invited comments from interested parties on commitments offered by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) to meet concerns that it may have infringed Article 81 of the EC Treaty. The Commission's concerns relate to the ship classification market, in particular that IACS might have prevented classification societies which are not members of IACS from joining, from participation in IACS' technical working groups and from access to technical background documents. To address these concerns, IACS proposed a series of commitments, including the establishment of qualitative membership criteria and guidance for their application, the possibility for non-IACS classification societies to participate in ICAS' working groups and full access to IACS' technical resolutions and related background documents.

Mergers

State aid

  • Commissioner Kroes briefs June 9 Council of Economics and Finance Ministers on restructuring of banks and their return to viability
    9 June 2009
    On 9th June, Commissioner Kroes briefed the EU's Council of Economics and Finance Ministers in Luxembourg on the restructuring of banks and their return to viability without state support. Commissioner Kroes underlined that financial stability and the preservation of competitive markets are complementary objectives and that those who pretend that we should forget about competition for the sake of financial stability are missing the point.
  • Commission authorises Lithuanian temporary aid scheme to grant compatible aid of up to €500 000
    8 June 2009
    The Commission authorised a Lithuanian measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Aid of up to €500 000 per firm may be granted in 2009 and 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the credit squeeze. The scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time and scope and applies only to companies that were not in difficulties before 1 July 2008.
  • Commission authorises Spanish temporary aid scheme to boost the real economy
    8 June 2009
    The Commission authorised a Spanish measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Aid of up to €500 000 per firm may be granted in 2009 and 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the credit squeeze. The scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time and scope and does not apply to companies that were already in difficulties before 1 July 2008.
  • Commission authorises temporary Romanian guarantee scheme to boost real economy
    8 June 2009
    The Commission authorised a Romanian scheme aimed at providing relief to companies encountering financing difficulties as a result of the credit squeeze in the current economic crisis. The scheme allows authorities to grant aid in the form of subsidised guarantees for investment and working capital loans concluded by 31 December 2010. It is in line with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time, respects the relevant thresholds and applies only to companies that were not in difficulties before 1 July 2008.

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Published by the Competition Directorate General of the European Commission. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the above information.

© European Union, 2009. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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