Competition weekly news summary
Friday, December 17, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • The interplay between law and economics
    Opening address at Charles River Associates Annual Conference, Brussels, Alexander Italianer
    8 December 2010
    "Our economists are now fully involved in the development of conceptual frameworks for our cases and our overall policy-making. Recent examples include guidance on non-horizontal mergers, Article 102 Enforcement Priorities or horizontal agreements in antitrust, and state aid policy."
    Read full speech >

Competition

  • Commission appoints Kai Uwe Kühn as new chief competition economist
    14 December 2010
    The Commission has appointed Professor Kai Uwe Kühn as new chief economist of the Directorate General for Competition. Professor Kühn holds a doctorate in economics from Oxford University and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan.
    Read more >

Antitrust

  • Commission opens investigation against Deutsche Telekom concerning behaviour of its subsidiary Slovak Telekom on broadband markets
    17 December 2010
    The Commission extended the scope of an investigation into Slovak Telekom's behaviour on broadband internet access markets, to include its parent company Deutsche Telekom. On 8 April 2009, the Commission had opened proceedings to investigate whether Slovak Telekom's behaviour could prevent or hinder competition in broadband internet access and other electronic communications markets in Slovakia. The extension of the proceedings to Deutsche Telekom is to establish whether Deutsche Telekom may have been involved in one or more of the suspected infringements or may be held liable for one or more of them.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens antitrust proceedings against a number of cement manufacturers
    10 December 2010
    The Commission opened anti-trust proceedings against a number of cement manufacturers. The Commission intends to investigate in particular possible import/export restrictions, market sharing and price coordination in the markets for cement and related products.
    Read more >
  • Commission adopts revised competition rules on horizontal co-operation agreements
    14 December 2010
    The Commission has revised its rules for the assessment of horizontal co-operation agreements. The texts update and further clarify the application of competition rules in this area so that companies can better assess whether their co-operation agreements are in line with those rules. Modifications concern mainly the areas of standardisation, information exchange, and research and development.
    Read more >
    Frequently asked questions >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Alpha Flight Group by Dnata
    17 December 2010
    The Commission concluded that there was no risk of markets being shut out, given the existence of alternatives for catering services at each affected airport and the small share of the Emirates group (of which Dnata is a part) in the total demand for in-flight catering services. There are no horizontal overlaps between the parties' activities.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves the acquisition of Motorola's mobile network business by Nokia Siemens Networks
    15 December 2010
    The Commission’s investigation revealed that the parties' product portfolios are largely complementary and that Motorola Network Business has a limited presence in the EEA. Furthermore, the Commission found that the combined entity would continue to face a number of large and effective competitors. Finally, the markets for mobile network equipment are bidding markets with sophisticated buyers.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission carries out in-depth review of restructuring of Hungarian FHB
    16 December 2010
    The Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed restructuring of FHB, a Hungarian bank. At this stage, the Commission has doubts whether the aid was properly remunerated and whether it was not used for the expansion of the bank at the expense of its competitors.
    Read more >
  • Commission temporarily authorises BGN249 million rescue aid for Bulgarian railway company
    16 December 2010
    The Commission authorised state financing worth approximately €128 million for the Bulgarian railway operator BDZ EAD. The aid is in line with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time and scope.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears €15.5 million aid for Sovello's third solar modules plant in Germany
    14 December 2010
    The Commission authorised €15.5 million of regional aid for the German company Sovello's third solar modules plant in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because, on balance, the positive effects of the investment on regional development outweigh potential distortions of competition induced by the aid.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves aid to promote heritage conservation in two Polish salt mines
    14 December 2010
    The Commission authorised a €240 million aid for protection and security works in the heritage salt mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia, near Cracow, in Poland. The Commission found the aid to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it contributes to preserve national cultural heritage without adversely affecting trade between Member States.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises Sweden to grant €24 million for biofuel research project «GoBiGas»
    14 December 2010
    The Commission authorised an aid of approximately €24 million that Sweden intends to grant to the Gothenburg Biofuels Gasification (GoBiGas) research and development project. The Commission concluded that the aid was in line with EU state aid rules, because it tackles a market failure and generates positive effects for the EU, notably increased research activities, environmental protection and security of energy supply.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves €80 million film support scheme in Romania
    14 December 2010
    The Commission approved a Romanian support scheme worth €80.68 million for the development of the film industry, culture and cinematographic education. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because if furthers a cultural objective without unduly distorting competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves aid for waste CO2 pipeline in The Netherlands
    14 December 2010
    The Commission authorised a €5 million investment aid for a pipeline infrastructure to transport waste CO2 from a bioethanol plant in Rotterdam to greenhouses in the “Zuidplaspolder”. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it furthers an objective of common interest without adversely affecting trade between Member States.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into Danish taxation of gambling services
    14 December 2010
    The Commission opened a formal investigation to examine whether lower taxes for online casinos in comparison to traditional casinos in Denmark could procure an anticompetitive advantage to such online casinos.
    Read more >

Court

  • Joined Cases T-231/06 & T-237/06 Netherlands and Nederlandse Omroep Stichting/Commission
    16 December 2010
    The General Court ruled on appeals by The Netherlands and the Dutch broadcasting holding on a Commission decision of June 2006 finding that the funding system in place for the Dutch public service broadcasters constitutes state aid which is incompatible with the common market. The General Court upheld the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • C-480/09 AceaElectrabel / Commission
    16 December 2010
    The Court of Justice confirmed a ruling of the General Court in the AceaElectrabel case. The General Court had upheld a Commission decision of 2006 that had approved a planned investment aid to AceaElectrabel Produzione (AEP) but had suspended the granting of the aid until Acea - the group to which AEP belongs - reimbursed a previous incompatible aid.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment >
    Read more on initial Commission decision >
  • C-537/08 Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan / Commission
    16 December 2010
    The Court of Justice confirmed a judgment of the General Court in the Kahla case. The General Court had upheld a Commission decision of 2003, finding aid in favour of German porcelain manufacturer Kahla incompatible with the Internal Market and ordering its recovery.
    Read full ECJ Judgment >
    Read full GC judgment >
  • Commission welcomes General Court ruling on E.ON breach of seals case
    15 December 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by E.ON against a €38 million fine that the Commission had imposed on it in 2008 for the breach of a seal during an inspection. The General Court dismissed the appeal in its entirety and upheld the Commission's decision.
    Read more >
    Read full GC judgment >
  • T-427/08 CEAHR / Commission
    15 December 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by the European Confederation of watch repairers against the Commission's rejection of its complaint regarding anticompetitive practices in the European watch repair markets. The General Court annulled the Commission's decision to reject the complaint.
    Read full GC judgment >
  • C-362/09 Athinaïki Techniki / Commission
    16 December 2010
    The Court of Justice ruled on an appeal by the Greek company Athinaïki Techniki. The Commission had rejected Athinaïki's complaint regarding incompatible state aid in the context of the privatisation of Greek casino Mont Parnés. Athinaïki had challenged that rejection before the General Court, who had ruled that the Commission's rejection letter was not an attackable act and had rejected the action. The Cour of Justice, on appeal, overruled the General Court judgment and sent the case back to the latter. In the meantime, the Commission had withdrawn its rejection letter and had opened an in-depth state aid investigation into the privatisation of Mont Parnés. The CFI had subsequently concluded that there was no more need to rule on Athinaïki's appeal. Athinaïki had challenged that ruling before the Court of Justice. The Court has now ruled that the Commission was not entitled to withdraw its letter rejecting Athinaïki's complaint. This ruling does not affect the ongoing state aid investigation.
    Read full CoJ judgment >
    Read first GC ruling >
    Read first CoJ ruling >

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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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