Competition weekly news summary
28 September 2012

Conferences and Speeches

  • Better working markets at the service of growth
    2nd International Competition Forum, Warsaw Joaquín Almunia
    27 September 2012
    "It is the vision of the European Commission that restoring growth in Europe and furthering the integration in the Single Market are two sides of the same coin. [...] Over the last fifteen years, liberalisation processes in Europe have opened up key industries to competition and have brought innovation and cheaper prices. Along the way, the work of competition authorities has often been precious to safeguard the benefits of liberalisation on the ground. In particular, the Commission has given a close look at the behaviour of incumbents – the former monopolists – which may be tempted to adopt anti-competitive practices to preserve their market power. On the State aid front, the Commission has also been vigilant in ensuring that Member States do not grant aid to certain hand-picked champions, distorting competition in the Single Market."
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  • Presenting the State aid modernisation initiative
    EP workshop State Aid Modernisation, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    25 September 2012
    "We are conducting a policy review to translate the spirit of the initiative into revised sectoral guidelines and to align these with the Europe 2020 strategy and the future Multiannual Financial Framework that will come into force in 2014. At the same time, I want all these guidelines to follow a common methodology for our assessment, one that can encourage good aid and reinforce the internal market. This means that aid can only be approved if it targets a proven market failure and has real incentive effect."
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  • New rules for finance: Putting the genie back in the bottle
    EP Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Public hearing on Tackling the culture of manipulation: Global action, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    24 September 2012
    "Competition policy fights business conducts that unduly prevent market access and fair play. I will argue here that any market where essential information is locked in the hands of a privileged few who can handle it as they wish, withhold it from counterparts, or even misreport it – with little or no supervision – is a market destined for manipulation and fraud. When those who control the information explicitly agree to manipulate it at the expense of other players in the market, I believe we have a clear case of competition-policy violation. I also believe competition rules are flouted when a single firm or a group of firms willingly withhold information for the purpose of impairing the efficient functioning of a market."
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Antitrust

  • Commission sends Statement of Objections to suspected participants in retail food packaging cartel
    28 September 2012
    The Commission has informed thirteen companies active in the production and/or distribution of retail food packaging of its preliminary view that they may have participated in a cartel in the European Economic Area (EEA) for up to eight years, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
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Mergers

  • Commission clears acquisition of UK dairy cooperative Milk Link by rival Arla, subject to conditions
    28 September 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the UK dairy farmers' cooperative Milk Link by fellow cooperative Arla Foods. The clearance is conditional upon the divestment of Milk Link's sole long-life milk processing facility located in Devon (UK). The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have significantly reduced competition on the UK market for long-life milk by bringing together the two leading suppliers. The commitments offered by the parties address these concerns.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of German dairy cooperative Milch-Union Hocheifel by rival Arla
    28 September 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the German dairy farmers' cooperative Milch-Union Hocheifel by fellow cooperative Arla Foods. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because it would not significantly alter the market structure and the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition.
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  • Commission authorises acquisition of Translohr by Alstom Transport and the Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement
    24 September 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed joint acquisition by Alstom Transport and France’s Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement (Strategic Investment Fund) of Translohr from the French group, Lohr. The Commission concluded that the proposed merger would not give rise to any competition concerns as the merged entity would continue to face several other credible competitors.
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State aid

  • Commission prolongs guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty
    29 September 2012
    The Commission has prolonged EU guidelines on state aid for the rescue and restructuring of companies in financial difficulty. The Commission is currently reflecting on a review of the guidelines in the context of the state aid modernisation (SAM) initiative and will launch in due time a public consultation on reform proposals.
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Court

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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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