Competition weekly news summary
Friday, February 12, 2010

Competition

  • New Commissioner for Competition
    10 February 2010
    The new EU Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia, took office on 10 February 2010. During the last five years, Mr. Almunia was already in charge of the Commission's Economic and Monetary Affairs portfolio.
    Visit the Commissioner's website >

Antitrust

  • Statement of Objections in freight forwarding cartel
    10 February 2010
    The Commission sent a Statement of Objections to a number of companies concerning their alleged participation in price-fixing cartels in the air freight forwarding business in violation of EU antitrust rules. Freight forwarding consists of organizing the transport of goods along with related activities such as customs clearance, warehousing and ground services.
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Mergers

  • Acquisition of Solvay Pharma by Abbott
    11 February 2010
    The Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Solvay Pharma of Belgium by Abbott Laboratories of the US. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of the Cystic Fibrosis testing business of Solvay Pharma's subsidiary Innogenetics in the EEA. The Commission had concerns that the parties' high combined market shares in the field of Cystic Fibrosis testing could have harmed competition on the markets.
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State aid

  • Commission authorises Danish export loan scheme
    9 February 2010
    The Commission authorised a scheme providing export loans to Danish exporters and their clients, who experience difficulties in accessing funding in the current financial crisis. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it provides funding on market terms and therefore does not qualify as state aid.
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  • Commission approves Italian scheme to bridge digital divide in Lombardy
    8 February 2010
    The Commission authorised funding for a network to bridge the digital divide in the Italian region of Lombardy. The Italian scheme is in line with EU state aid rules, because it will contribute to reaching the EU's objective of increasing broadband connectivity while stimulating competition in areas where private operators were not present before.
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  • Commission approves broadband support for rural areas in Saxony
    8 February 2010
    The Commission authorised a duct support scheme to increase broadband access in unserved rural areas in the German region of Saxony. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it will allow operators to deploy their own cables, thereby enhancing the possibilities for infrastructure based competition.
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  • Record number of projects under new Broadband Guidelines
    8 February 2010
    In September 2009, the Commission adopted Guidelines for the assessment of broadband projects under EU state aid rules. With a view to supporting economic recovery and the long term competitiveness of Europe, the guidelines provide an overview on how Member States can support broadband networks without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. Since September 2009, the Commission has endorsed almost €300 million of public funding to support such projects.
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  • Additional recapitalisation of ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland
    8 February 2010
    The Commission has temporarily approved a recapitalisation package of €6.9 billion in favour of ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland until 31/07/2010 as urgent rescue aid. At the same time, the Commission extended the scope of an in-depth investigation, opened in April 2009 into previous aid to Fortis, to include these additional measures.
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  • Commission approves Swedish State guarantee for Saab
    8 February 2010
    The Commission authorised plans notified by Sweden to provide a guarantee that would enable Saab Automobile AB to access a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Commission found the guarantee to be in line with EU state aid rules because Saab will pay an adequate remuneration and provide sufficient securities in case the guarantee would be drawn.
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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.

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