Competition weekly news summary
Friday, July 1, 2011

Conferences and Speeches

  • Improving Europe’s competitiveness in the global economy
    Annual BritishAmerican Business Conference, London, Joaquín Almunia
    28 June 2011
    "I do not believe that going back to the old industrial policies – what we used to call “picking winners” – is a good idea. In fact, history shows that these policies do not work. Government is not good at choosing winning sectors – let alone firms. We must leave that to the markets, which are a lot better at this game."
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  • The new economic climate: driving competition in key sectors
    The Annual Chatham House Competition Policy Conference, London, Alexander Italianer
    24 June 2011
    "We need an ambitious long-term vision for our energy policy so that it can support economic recovery(…). We need a more transparent and prudent operation of financial services through reforms setting the ground for a more robust sector, that is more trustworthy in the eyes of investors, businesses and citizens. And finally, we need to unleash the creativity and innovation brought by new media, while ensuring that the market remains open to new players and their innovations, and that consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of the increased digital convergence. I would like to speak today about how European competition policy - through all its instruments and as a complement to the regulatory framework - can support growth in each of these sectors in the new economy that is emerging...."
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Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Austrian heating oil distributor OMV Wärme by a subsidiary of the Raiffeisen group
    30 June 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of OMV Wärme, an Austrian heating oil distributor company, by Raiffeisen Ware Austria AG. After examining the operation, the Commission concluded that the merged entity will continue to face several strong and effective competitors in the market.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of Bulgari by LVMH
    30 June 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Italian luxury goods company Bulgari by the Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton Group ("LVMH") of France. The Commission's investigation showed that the acquisition would not significantly alter the competitive structure of the markets concerned, as Bulgari holds small market shares only and LVMH will continue to face effective competition from several other manufacturers of luxury goods.
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  • Commission clears merger of Polish banking and insurance subsidiaries of Austria's Raiffeisen and Greece's EFG Eurobank Ergasias
    30 June 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed merger of the respective Polish bank subsidiaries of Raiffeisen Bank of Austria and of EFG Eurobank Ergasias of Greece. The Commission's investigation has shown that the merger does not raise competition concerns in the Polish banking and insurance markets, because the overlaps in the merged entities' activities are very small.
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State aid

  • Commission launches investigation into tax benefits granted by Spain for the purchase of ships
    1 July 2011
    The Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to verify whether Spanish tax reliefs for the purchase of ships are compatible with EU state aid rules. The scheme would enable maritime transport companies to purchase ships, under certain conditions, at prices that are between 20% and 30% lower than the market price. At this stage, the Commission has concerns that this would result in selective advantages for the investors and companies taking part in the scheme.
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  • Commission approves Slovenian aid towards the closure of the Trbovlje Hrastnik coal mine
    29 June 2011
    The Commission has approved Slovenia's plan to grant financial support for the closure of the Trbovlje Hrastnik coal mine. The Commission found the plan to be in line with a December 2010 Council Decision on state aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive hard coal mines because it foresees aid only for exceptional costs arising in the context of the closure of the mine.
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  • Commission clears German tax exemption for flights to and from North Sea islands
    29 June 2011
    The Commission has authorised a German plan to exempt selected groups of passengers travelling to and from certain German islands from a newly-created flight tax. The Commission found the exemptions in line with EU state aid rules, because they constitute aid of a social character granted to individuals without discrimination regarding the origin of the products and services involved.
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  • Commission approves resolution of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society
    29 June 2011
    The Commission has cleared an Irish project to merge and resolve Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) over a period of ten years. The Commission found the plan to be in line with EU state aid rules, because the market exit of the two institutions will address the distortions of competition caused by the massive state support they received during the crisis.
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  • Commission approves state guarantee granted to Institut Français du Pétrole
    29 June 2011
    The Commission concluded that an unlimited state guarantee granted to the lnstitut Français du Pétrole Énergies Nouvelles (IFP) is in line with EU state aid rules, because the IFP's economic activities are conducted on an ancillary basis and are connected with its main activity, which is public research.
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  • Commission approves equipment transfer procedure in context of French port reform
    29 June 2011
    The Commission concluded that the procedure for the transfer of equipment from French public ports to the private sector offers sufficient guarantees that equipment will be sold at the market price, in line with EU state aid rules.
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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, 2011. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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