Competition weekly news summary
27 April 2012

State aid

  • Commission adopts de minimis Regulation for services of general economic interest (SGEI)
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has adopted a Regulation that exempts from EU state aid rules aid of up to € 500 000 per company over a three-year period that is granted as compensation for the provision of services of general economic interest (SGEI). Compensation of this magnitude is deemed unproblematic because it is too low to have any impact on trade and competition.
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  • Commission orders Germany to recover incompatible aid for disposal of animal carcasses and slaughterhouse waste in Rhineland-Palatinate
    25 April 2012
    The Commission found that public support in favour of "Zweckverband Tierkörperbeseitigung in Rhineland-Palatinate" (ZT), a local provider of services for the disposal of animal carcasses and slaughterhouse waste, was incompatible with EU state aid rules and has ordered Germany to recover incompatible aid of approximately €30 million from the beneficiary. The Commission's investigation found, in particular, that ZT had no extra costs for discharging a public service, because it had sufficient spare capacity besides its normal operations to master an epidemic outbreak, and was therefore not entitled to receive public compensation.
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  • Commission temporarily approves Danish rescue aid to facilitate merger between Vestjysk Bank and Aarhus Lokalbank
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has authorised rescue measures to facilitate the merger of two Danish banks, Vestjysk Bank and Aarhus Lokalbank. The merger is intended in particular to address the funding challenges of the continuing bank, but also to improve its capital basis to meet the new capital requirements. The Commission therefore approved the measures for reasons of financial stability for a period of six months, or, if Denmark submits a restructuring plan within six months, until the Commission has adopted a final decision on this plan.
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  • Commission approves extension of French aid scheme for video game creation
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has authorised France to extend a tax credit scheme for video game creation, in so far as it aims to promote culture. The Commission finds that this scheme, with an estimated budget of €45 million a year, is helping to steer video game production towards projects with cultural content, in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into potential state aid at Nîmes airport in France
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether financial arrangements between public authorities and the airport of Nîmes (France), as well as rebates and marketing agreements concluded between this airport and Ryanair, are in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission opens in-depth inquiries into preferential electricity tariffs granted by Romanian hydroelectricity generator Hidroelectrica to various companies
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has opened five distinct in-depth investigations to assess whether the Romanian state-controlled hydropower producer Hidroelectrica S.A. purchased or sold electricity at preferential tariffs to several electricity traders, industrial clients and electricity producers, in order to favour beneficiaries by lowering their operating costs, increasing their revenues or a combination of the two, in breach of EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation on Spanish compensation for digital terrestrial broadcasters to free digital dividend
    25 April 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether a Spanish plan to compensate digital terrestrial broadcasters for the extra costs of parallel broadcasting, while services are re-allocated to another frequency to free the digital dividend, is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will investigate in particular whether the measure is proportionate and necessary. At this stage, the Commission also has concerns that the measure may favour terrestrial broadcasters over other available technologies. At the same time, the Commission has approved aid to enable certain households to continue receiving free-to-air channels after the reallocation of frequencies.
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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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