Competition weekly news summary
Friday, November 27, 2009

Conferences and Speeches

  • Better targeted aid is the name of the game
    Keynote address at conference organised by EStALI (European State Aid Law Institute) London, Neelie Kroes
    27 November 2009
    "Where there is a demonstrable market failure or where the aid will not distort the market, my door is open. On more complicated cases, my simple premise is the right one: I've said "No . until you prove how the benefits will outweigh the costs"."
  • Hungary and the EU: better together
    Address at conference organised by the Hungarian Competition Authority GVH, Budapest, Neelie Kroes
    25 November 2009
    "It's been an exciting 5 years for EU competition law and a great 5 years for the GVH. You've worked hard to embed the principles of EU competition law in to Hungarian society and you should be proud of what you have achieved so far."

Antitrust

  • European Commission urges Polish telecoms regulator to take stronger action on mobile termination rates
    27 November 2009
    The Commission called on the Polish telecoms regulator UKE, not to unnecessarily prolong asymmetric termination rates in favour of P4, the latest entrant in the Polish mobile telephone market. Currently P4 charges other operators around 1.5 times more for connecting calls on its network than its competitors. The Commission calls upon UKE to bring its pricing methodology in line with EU rules and to swiftly reduce P4's mobile termination rates (MTR) to the level of the cost of an efficient operator.
  • Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to alleged participants in TV and computer monitor tubes cartels
    26 November 2009
    The Commission can confirm that in November 2009 it has sent a Statement of Objections to a number of companies active in the cathode ray tubes (CRT) industry, concerning their alleged participation in two separate cartels. Cathode ray tubes are used in television sets and computer monitors.
  • Commission confirms inspections in Czech electricity sector
    24 November 2009
    The European Commission can confirm that on 24 November 2009 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of the energy company CEZ, a.s. and other undertakings all located in the Czech Republic. The Commission has reason to believe that action carried out by CEZ unilaterally or together with other players may have led to distortions of competition and resulted in the enhancement of CEZ's dominant position on the Czech wholesale electricity market.
  • Commission urges Lithuanian telecoms regulator to take stronger action on fixed termination rates
    24 November 2009
    The Commission called on the Lithuanian telecommunications regulator (RRT), to impose appropriate price control and access obligations on all communication providers regarding their fixed termination services. Fixed termination rates in Lithuania are amongst the highest in the EU. A higher reduction of these rates would speed up the transition to the approach set out in the Commission's Recommendation on Termination Rates (see IP/09/710), according to which these rates should be set at the cost level of an efficient operator.
  • Commission closes formal proceedings against Qualcomm
    24 November 2009
    The Commission decided to close formal antitrust proceedings against Qualcomm Incorporated, a US chipset manufacturer, concerning an alleged breach of article 82 of the EC Treaty. All complainants have withdrawn or intend to withdraw their complaints.

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Gatwick Airport by Global Infrastructure Partners
    26 November 2009
    The Commission's examination showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of London City airport and Gatwick airport were limited and that, therefore, the transaction would raise no competition concerns. Indeed, London City is mainly a niche airport focusing on short haul flights for business passengers, while Gatwick is a large airport serving predominantly leisure passengers.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Cargill's animal nutrition business in Spain and Portugal by Nutreco
    24 November 2009
    The Commission's examination showed that the horizontal overlap between Nutreco's and Cargill's activities in animal compound feed in Spain and Portugal would not raise competition concerns given the relatively limited combined market position of the merging parties and the presence of a sufficient number of alternative suppliers. The Commission also excluded competition concerns arising from vertical links, given the limited share of the merging parties in the vertically linked markets and the existence of alternative suppliers of compound feed.
  • Commission approves proposed Euro TLX SIM joint venture between UniCredit and Banca IMI
    23 November 2009
    The Commission's examination found that there were no horizontal overlaps between the parties' activities. The Commission found that the operation would not raise any vertical concerns either, in particular due to the "best execution" requirements to which UniCredit and Banca IMI would be subject under the European Directive on markets in financial instruments (so-called "MiFID" Directive, 2004/39/EC). The investigation showed that the entity resulting from the transaction would compete with other established players, thereby enhancing competition and enlarging the choice of providers.

State aid

  • Commission approves Swedish export-credit insurance scheme
    25 November 2009
    The Commission authorised a measure adopted by Sweden to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it requires market-oriented remuneration and concerns insurance cover currently unavailable on the private market.

Court

  • Case T-376/07 Germany v Commission
    25 November 2009
    The Court of First Instance ruled on an appeal against an injunction issued by the Commission on 18 July 2007, requesting information from Germany in the context of state aid monitoring. The CFI fully confirmed the Commission's position that a derogation from the general prohibition of state aid must go hand in hand with an effective monitoring system, regardless of whether there are doubts on the substance of a given case. Consequently, the CFI dismissed the appeal in its entirety.

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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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