Competition weekly news summary
Friday, September 23, 2011

Conferences and speeches

  • Public enforcement and private damages actions in antitrust
    European Parliament ECON Committee, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    22 September 2011
    “Our legislative action must make possible that every victim of the companies that breach competition law should exercise their right to be compensated for damages regardless of where they are in the EU and regardless of whether they bring individual or collective actions.”
    Read full speech >
  • Presentation of Comission decision on HSH Nordbank and State of Play on State Aid rules to banks
    Press Conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    20 September 2011
    "Putting the banking system and the financial sector in general, back on a sound footing is a necessary precondition of any recovery. This requires – on top of the urgent need to strengthen economic governance in the eurozone and successfully tackle the sovereign debt problems -that financial regulation and the competition rules work together. Regulation is necessary, because some of the problems are systemic, and not confined to the practices of individual banks or countries. And indeed, competition rules are necessary, as experience of the last years has amply shown. State aid control has helped to maintain a level playing field in the European single market during the crisis. Approval of state support, even under the exceptional regime in place the last three years, is subject to tough conditions, such as the remuneration and progressive pay back of the support received, reduction of balance sheets, including the sale of profitable assets to share the burden of restructuring, and the setting of acquisition and price-leadership bans."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission market tests IBM's commitments on mainframe maintenance and closes separate case into alleged unlawful tying
    20 September 2011
    The Commission invites comments on commitments offered by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to ensure the availability of certain spare parts and technical information on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms over five years. These commitments aim to resolve concerns that IBM may have imposed unreasonable conditions for supplying competing mainframe maintenance service providers with such inputs, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission refers Italy to Court for failure to recover incompatible aid from Eurallumina
    20 September 2011
    The Commission has referred Italy to the European Court of Justice for not complying with two Commission decisions of 2005 and 2007 finding that aluminium producer Eurallumina SpA had received unlawful state aid in the form of reductions from excise taxes on heavy fuels. To date, Italy has not recovered the aid estimated at about € 25 million.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves Spanish R&D aid for the development of an innovative aero engine component
    20 September 2011
    The Commission has authorised a repayable advance of €36.6 million that Spain intends to grant to the Spanish aeronautics company ITP for the development of a low pressure turbine for an engine developed by Rolls-Royce. The Commission found that the aid complies with EU state aid rules, because the positive effects of the aid outweigh potential distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves restructuring of HSH Nordbank, subject to conditions
    20 Septemer 2011
    The Commission has approved restructuring aid received by the German bank HSH Nordbank, subject to a 61% balance sheet reduction to make the bank less reliant on volatile businesses and to shrink its funding needs, thereby increasing its long-term viability. The approval of the restructuring plan is conditional on the payment of a higher remuneration for a €10 billion risk shield. This is to make the risk shield compliant with EU state aid rules regarding impaired assets and to ensure that minority shareholders bear a fair share of the restructuring costs. (D-3)
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Danish online gambling duties
    20 September 2011
    After an in-depth investigation, the Commission has concluded that a law liberalising gambling in Denmark and introducing lower taxes for online casinos than for land-based ones is in line with EU state aid rules. This is because the positive effects of the liberalisation of the sector outweigh potential distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Overview of decisions and on-going in-depth investigations in the context of the financial crisis
    20 September 2011
    Go to overview >
  • Commission consults on proposals for revised SGEI rules
    16 September 2011
    The Commission has published proposals of new texts regarding the application of EU state aid rules to Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) for consultation of EU Member States and stakeholders before submitting a final text to the College. The new rules are expected to be adopted by the end of January 2012.
    Read more >
    Read full text of proposals >

Court

  • C-148/09 Belgium / Deutsche Post
    22 September 2011
    The Court of Justice ruled on an appeal by Belgium against a Court of First Instance ruling of February 2009, that had annulled a Commission decision of July 2003 authorising without opening an in-depth investigation a capital injection granted by Belgium to the Belgian postal incumbent La Poste. Deutsche Post had challenged the Commission decision before the Court of First Instance. The Court of Justice confirmed the earlier ruling and rejected Belgium's appeal, thereby finally annulling the Commission decision of 2003. The Commission is currently assessing state aid measures in favour of La Poste in an in-depth investigation, opened in 2009 following the Court of First Instance ruling.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full CFI judgment under appeal >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
    Read more about ongoing Commission investigation >
  • Joined cases T-394/08, T-408/08, T-453/08, T-454/08 Sardegna and others / Commission
    21 September
    The General Court ruled on appeals against a Commission decision of July 2008 regarding the unlawful implementation of a regional state aid scheme in Italy. The Court rejected all appeals and entirely unheld the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >

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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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