Competition weekly news summary
11 May 2012

Conferences and Speeches

  • Europe’s banking sector after the crisis: Oversight, regulation and responsibility
    Banks Institute Congress, Marrakech, Joaquín Almunia
    10 May 2012
    "Ultimately, the goals of our State aid control are the same in every EU country, regardless of the special characteristics of their banking sectors; we want a leaner, cleaner and healthier banking system centred on the financing of the real economy. The restructuring should also be seen as an opportunity for more efficient and competitive banks to expand, acquire activities and assets, turn them around, and provide better and cheaper services to customers. We can no longer afford zombie banks as we struggle to generate growth."
    Read full speech >
  • State Aid Modernisation
    Press conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    8 May 2012
    "The way of the Commission's exclusive role in controlling state aid needs to be shifting from a mere case-to-case approach to move towards a more structured State aid “policy”. In other words, we can put our experience at the service of Member States to help them design their aid measures in the most effective way, while at the same time preserving a level-playing field in the internal market and avoiding damaging “subsidy races” between Member States."
    Read more >

Antitrust

  • Commission sends statement of objections to Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom
    8 May 2012
    The Commission informed Slovak Telekom and its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, of its objections against their behaviour on several wholesale broadband markets in Slovakia. At this stage, the Commission takes the view that Slovak Telekom may have refused to supply unbundled access to its local loops and wholesale services to competitors, and may have imposed a margin squeeze on alternative operators by charging unfair wholesale prices. Deutsche Telekom may be liable for the conduct of its subsidiary.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of electrical components and connectors manufacturer Thomas & Betts by ABB
    11 May 2012
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of the electrical components and connectors manufacturer Thomas & Betts of the US by ABB of Switzerland. ABB is active in the power and automation technology sector. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the overlaps between the parties' activities are limited and that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of other strong competitors. Customers will therefore still have a number of alternative suppliers in the markets concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Swedish dairy company Skånemejerier AB by Lactalis
    11 May 2012
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of Skånemejerier AB, a subsidiary of the Swedish cooperative Skånemejerier ek. För by Lactalis, both active in the dairy sector. The Commission's investigation concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because it will not significantly alter the market structure.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of controlling stake in German windpark Borkum Riffgrund I by Boston Holding
    10 April 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control over the North Sea wind farm Borkum Riffgrund I of Germany by DONG Energy Borkum Riffgrund of Germany and Boston Holding of Denmark. The Commission found that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because it will not alter the market structure.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Dutch online retailer Flevo by Ahold
    7 May 2012
    The Commission cleared the acquisition of Flevo Deelnemingen III by Koninklijke Ahold, both of the Netherlands. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because of the limited combined market presence of the parties.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission launches major initiative to modernise state aid control
    8 May 2012
    The Commission adopted a Communication on State Aid Modernisation (SAM), setting out the objectives of an ambitious reform package. In the broader context of the EU's agenda to foster growth, state aid policy should focus on facilitating well-designed aid targeted at market failures and objectives of common European interest. The Commission also aims at focusing its enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market, streamlining rules and taking faster decisions.
    Read more >
  • Commission asks Spain to recover €265 million from Ciudad de la Luz film studio complex
    8 May 2012
    The Commission concluded that €265 million public funding granted by the Valencia Regional Government to the Ciudad de la Luz film studio complex was not provided on market conditions and needs to be paid back by the beneficiary.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves regional investment aid for Mondi in Poland and Masdar in Germany
    8 May 2012
    The Commission authorised public support for two regional investment projects, one in Poland in favour of paper companies Mondi Swiecie and Mondi Packaging Paper Swiecie and one in Germany in favour of the German solar modules producer Masdar. The Commission concluded that the measures comply with the EU's regional aid guidelines, because the aid intensity, the beneficiaries' market shares and the capacity created by the assisted projects are sufficiently low to ensure that the benefits of the aid for regional development will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears 23 million EUR R&D aid to Novartis Italy for faster access to innovative vaccines in developing countries
    8 May 2012
    The Commission concluded that €23 million public funding, which Italy intends to grant to Novartis Italy for the research and development of innovative vaccines, is in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it tackles a genuine market failure and stimulates research in the EU.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves Spanish €10.95 million support for publishing culturally valuable books
    8 May 2012
    The Commission authorised a Spanish scheme allowing up to €10.95 million of public funding for the publication of culturally valuable books in Spain over the next three years. The Commission found that the scheme pursues an objective of common interest, the promotion of cultural heritage, is well designed to achieve this objective and minimises potential distorsions of competition.
    Read more >

Subscriptions:

Editorial and legal information

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.

Competition website