Competition weekly news summary
Friday, October 2, 2009

Conferences and Speeches

  • Lessons learned from the economic crisis
    Address to Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, European Parliament Brussels, Neelie Kroes
    29 September 2009
    "The ability of the Commission to respond to the crisis with a combination of Community policies has been crucial. We used our insights from monetary and fiscal policy and the financial markets to inform our response through competition policy. In turn, our competition policy insights helped my colleagues formulate their policies. This is positive proof of how helpful it is to have such policy areas under one roof in the Commission."

Mergers

Antitrust

State aid

  • Commission approves Dutch export-credit insurance scheme
    2 October 2009
    The Commission authorised a Dutch measure to provide insurance coverage to exporters who are unable to obtain cover from the private market as a result of the current financial crisis. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules because it requires market-oriented remuneration and is focussed specifically on the problem of the current unavailability of short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market.
  • Commission partly authorises German tax law on risk capital, subject to amendments
    1 October 2009
    The Commission partly authorised a German Law to Modernise the General Conditions for Capital Investments (MoRaKG). The Commission found that the positive impact of income tax benefits for private investors that provide risk capital to companies that need it would clearly outweigh potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid. The Commission therefore authorised the proposed tax benefits for private investors under certain conditions and requested Germany to bring them into line with EU Risk Capital Guidelines (see IP/06/1015). However, the Commission found that proposed provisions concerning business tax breaks for Venture Capital Companies (VCC) and the right of Target Enterprises (TE) acquired by VCCs to carry forward losses, were incompatible with the Risk Capital Guidelines and with the principle of freedom of establishment (Article 43 of the EC-Treaty). In particular, these provisions would require beneficiaries to have their domicile in Germany and provide an unfair competitive advantage to certain companies over their competitors. The Commission therefore concluded that business tax benefits and loss carry forward provisions in favour of VCC and TE were incompatible with the Single Market and could not be implemented.
  • Commission approves 2.4 billion regional tax credit scheme for new investment in Sicily
    30 September 2009
    The Italian tax credit scheme is aimed at encouraging initial investments in Sicily with a view to promoting regional development. The Commission found it in line with the state aid rules, because it provides companies with an incentive to invest in a disadvantaged region of Europe without unduly distorting competition.
  • Commission approves public financing worth 59 million for broadband project in the French Hauts-de-Seine department
    30 September 2009
    The Commission found that the public funding would be used to offset the cost of complying with the obligations of a service of general economic interest, imposed following an open and transparent tendering procedure. The funding, therefore, does not constitute state aid. In particular, the compensation does not exceed the cost of rolling-out the network in the non-profitable areas of the department Hauts-de-Seine.

Court

  • Case T-161/05, case T-168/05, case T-174/05 and case T-175/05, Hoechst and others v Commission
    30 September 2009
    The Court of First Instance ruled on appeals brought by four companies against a Commission decision of January 2005 (see IP/05/61) finding a cartel in the sector for Monochloroacetic Acid. The CFI entirely dismissed the appeals brought by Arkema, Elf Aquitaine and Akzo Nobel. The CFI slightly reduced the fine imposed on Hoechst and dismissed the appeal for the remainder. The judgment also confirmed the Commission's finding that a parent company is presumed to be liable for the actions of its wholly, or almost wholly owned subsidiary, in the absence of sufficient evidence submitted to the contrary.

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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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