Competition weekly news summary
22 June 2012

Conferences and Speeches

  • Competition Policy in times of restructuring
    Chatham House Conference Competition policy in global markets: Efficiencies and remedies in lean times, London, Joaquín Almunia
    22 June 2012
    "Europe today is in urgent need of restructuring many of its traditional sectors. It must face this challenge with determination and develop the necessary tools to manage this process of migration from mature organisations into innovative ones. This is the spirit of the State aid modernisation initiative – which I launched just over a month ago. Its main objective is to help Europe’s governments spend more wisely to prepare the ground for the recovery, boost growth while keeping the right priorities in times of fiscal consolidation and, of course, mitigate the social effects of the crisis."
    Read full speech >
  • Restructuring the banking sector in the EU: A State aid perspective
    Conference on State Aid in the Banking Market – Legal and Economic Perspectives, Frankfurt am Main, Joaquín Almunia
    21 June 2012
    "Under the special crisis regime, we have authorised a number of national schemes; decided on the viability, restructuring or resolution of more than 45 banks; and are still working on over 25 institutions. [...] Our main objective when implementing this framework is to return aided banks to long-term viability, which means that they must restructure so that they can conduct their business without the need of more public funds. [...] Our rules have also addressed a host of structural problems that had emerged well before the crisis. So, while we have been handling the individual cases, we have also laid down the conditions for the competitive functioning of the banking industry in the medium term. To all intents, the Commission has been acting as a de facto crisis-management and resolution authority at EU level."
    Read full speech >
  • Presenting the Annual Competition Report for 2011
    ECON Committee, European Parliament, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    19 June 2012
    "Competition enforcement has operated in a difficult environment last year and since the crisis began. By its nature, our work allows us to touch first-hand the impact of the crisis on the ground. The report I am presenting to you today is the result of this experience. The ultimate goal of our work is to establish the best possible conditions for growth and job creation in the internal market. It is more important than ever to release the potential of the Single Market to find a way out of the crisis and stimulate the economy. From among the wealth of information that the report presents in its new, policy-driven format, I would like to highlight three areas that represent well the breadth of our action: financial services, food and State aid."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission makes legally binding commitments by Siemens and Areva concerning nuclear technology markets
    18 June 2012
    The Commission has made legally binding commitments offered by Siemens and Areva to reduce the product scope and duration of a non-compete obligation in the market for nuclear technologies. The Commission had concerns that the non-compete obligation might prevent competition, in breach of EU antitrust rules. After market testing the commitments offered by Siemens and Areva, the Commission is satisfied that they address its concerns and has closed its investigation.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission refers Spanish aviation fuel joint venture to the Spanish competition authority
    22 June 2012
    The Commission has referred to the Spanish competition authority the proposed acquisition of joint control over Shell Aviation España (SAE) by Disa Corporación Petrolífera and Shell. SAE is currently solely controlled by Shell. After a preliminary assessment, the Commission concluded that the proposed concentration would only affect certain Spanish markets and that the Spanish competition authority would therefore be best placed to examine it.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission invites comments on use of General block exemption Regulation
    20 June 2012
    In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM), the Commission has launched the review of the general block exemption regulation (GBER) which exempts certain categories of aid from the obligation of prior notification to the Commission. The review starts with a public consultation, seeking stakeholders' views on the functioning of the regulation since its entry into force in 2008. In light of the submissions received and its own experience in applying the Regulation, the Commission will propose a revised draft regulation in 2013, with a view to contributing to the objectives of SAM.
    Read more >

Court

  • C-452/10 P BNP Paribas and BNL v Commission
    21 June
    The Court of Justice ruled on appeals by two banks against a General Court ruling of 2010 that had upheld a Commission decision of March 2008 finding that tax incentives granted by Italy in the context of certain bank privatisations were incompatible with EU state aid rules and needed to be recovered from the beneficiaries. The Court dismissed the appeals and confirmed the Commission's findings that the tax scheme implemented in favour of specific banking entities was selective and could not be justified by the inherent logic of the Italian tax system.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >

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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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