Competition weekly news summary
Friday, February 24, 2012

Conferences and Speeches

  • "The role of State aid control"
    CEPS Lunchtime Meeting, Brussels, Joaquin Almunia
    24 February 2012
    "Since their introduction, we have taken decisions on the restructuring or resolution of 42 banks, and we are in the process of negotiating restructuring terms with 23 more. The principles that we apply in all cases pursue three main goals: first, safeguarding financial stability; second, preserving the integrity of the internal market; and third, restructuring the beneficiaries of aid for long-term viability (...). Using the crisis regime of State aid control, we are trying to create the conditions for an open banking sector where banks are no longer a threat to financial stability and provide credit to the real economy at competitive terms. In particular, our work has addressed some of the structural problems that had been affecting many banks since well before the crisis. In doing this, we are helping banks to become healthier and get ready for the post-crisis financial environment."
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  • "Modernising State aid control"
    European Economic and Social Committee plenary meeting, Brussels, Joaquin Almunia
    23 February 2012
    "State aid control has a strategic role because it helps Member States to improve the quality of their public finances. Government support should go where it can make a difference for EU competitiveness (...). We will use the reform to cut down on red tape and make our rules simpler and more consistent."
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  • "Public and private enforcement of competition law"
    5th International Competition Conference, Brussels, Alexander Italianer
    17 February 2012
    "When it comes to determining the appropriate role of private enforcement and in particular its relationship with public enforcement, discussions are often defined by some kind of mutual exclusion approach: strengthening private enforcement is often seen as dangerous for the effectiveness of public enforcement; and protecting public enforcement means – we are told – that private actions are relegated to a secondary role. I do not believe that this perspective is correct. On the contrary, I think that public and private enforcement are complementary tools to enforce competition law and that we need both types of enforcement."
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Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Philips' branded colour TVs business by TPV
    24 February 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the branded colour TV business of the Dutch company Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. by TPV Technology Limited, a manufacturer of colour TVs and computer monitors based in Bermuda. The Commission concluded that the transaction will not raise competition concerns due to the limited overlaps between the parties' activities and to the fact that sufficient alternative sources of supply will continue to be available to the merged entity's customers in all markets concerned.
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  • Commission authorises creation of a joint venture between SENOBLE and AGRIAL in the dairy sector
    21 February 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed creation of SENAGRAL, a joint venture to be controlled by SENOBLE and AGRIAL, two French companies operating in the dairy sector. The joint venture will operate in the production and sale of private label fresh dairy products in France, Germany and Benelux. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the new entity will have numerous competitors in the markets concerned.
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State aid

  • Commission approves support measures for Hungarian bank FHB
    22 February 2012
    The Commission has approved a recapitalisation of HUF 30 billion (app. €100 million) and a loan under the Hungarian liquidity scheme of approximately HUF 120 billion (approximately €400 million) for the Hungarian bank FHB. The Commission concluded that the measures were in line with its guidance on state support for banks during the crisis because the revised restructuring plan will restore the bank's viability while ensuring that the distortion of competition created by the aid is kept to a minimum.
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  • Commission approves aid for closure of three coal mines in Romania
    22 February 2012
    The Commission has authorised RON 1169 million (approximately €270 million) of public funding for the closure of three uncompetitive coal mining units owned by National Hard Coal Company JSC Petrosani (CNH SA). The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules because production aid will decrease over time and Romania committed to carry out accompanying measures to mitigate the social and environmental impact of the closure.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigations in air transport sector in Germany and Austria
    22 February 2012
    The Commission will investigate whether financial arrangements between public authorities and the airports of Saarbrücken, Zweibrücken, Lübeck-Blankensee (Germany) and Klagenfurt (Austria), as well as rebates and marketing agreements concluded between these airports and some of the airlines using them, are in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission authorises €18 million public financing for new ferry terminal in Lithuania
    22 February 2012
    The Commission has authorised a grant from the European Cohesion Fund to the Klaipeda Port authority for the extension and improvement of quays for the new passenger and freight ferry facility in Klaipeda (Lithuania). The Commission concluded that the measure was necessary in order to improve the accessibility of Lithuania by sea and boost regional development, while not compromising the functioning of the neighbouring ferry terminals.
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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, 2012. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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