Competition weekly news summary
25 January 2013

Antitrust

  • Commission takes Bulgaria to Court over assignment of digital terrestrial broadcasting authorisations
    24 January 2013
    The Commission has decided to refer Bulgaria to the EU's Court of Justice over the assignment of digital broadcast spectrum. The Commission found that the procedure followed by Bulgaria was based on disproportionately restrictive award conditions, leading to the exclusion of potential candidates. This hampers competition in the future Bulgarian digital terrestrial television (DTT) infrastructure market, in breach of the applicable EU Directives on electronic communications.
    Read more >
  • Commission fines Telefónica and Portugal Telecom € 79 million for illegal non-compete contract clause
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has imposed fines of €66 894 000 on Telefónica and of €12 290 000 on Portugal Telecom for agreeing not to compete with each other on the Iberian telecommunications markets, in breach of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In July 2010, in the context of the acquisition by Telefónica of the Brazilian mobile operator Vivo, which was until then jointly owned by both parties, the parties inserted a clause in the contract indicating they would not compete with each other in Spain and Portugal as from the end of September 2010. The parties terminated the non-compete agreement in early February 2011, after the Commission opened antitrust proceedings.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for Sardinian airports
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether an Italian scheme granting financial support to certain airport operators in Sardinia and the air carriers operating in these airports is in line with EU state aid rules. At this stage, the Commission has concerns that such public support may procure the beneficiaries an undue economic advantage that their competitors do not have.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth inquiry into public support in favour of Portuguese shipyard ENVC
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether numerous public support measures granted by Portugal in favour of the shipyard "Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo S.A." (ENVC) are in line with EU state aid rules. At this stage, the Commission has doubts that these measures were carried out on terms that a private operator would have accepted under market conditions.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves compensation for La Banque Postale of France for ensuring banking accessibility
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has found that public financing granted by France to the French bank La Banque Postale from 2009 to 2014 in order to improve banking accessibility are in line with EU state aid rules. In particular the compensation granted to La Banque Postale does not exceed the net cost for discharging the public service obligations.
    Read more >
  • Commission orders The Netherlands to recover €6.9 million incompatible state aid from Schouten-de Jong Bouwfonds
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has concluded that public support measures granted to Schouten-de Jong Bouwfonds ("SJB") by a public private partnership, consisting of the Dutch municipality of Leidschendam-Voorburg and SJB, were incompatible with EU state aid rules. In particular, SJB benefitted from a reduction to an agreed sales price for building land and a waiver of agreed fees. These measures clearly procured an economic advantage to SJB over its competitors, which the company would not have obtained in normal market circumstances. In order to remedy the distortion of competition brought about by this undue advantage, SJB now needs to pay back the aid with interest.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves aid for closure of coal mine in Hungary
    23 January 2013
    The Commission has authorised HUF 42 247 million (approximately €140 million) of public funding for the closure of an uncompetitive coal mine in Hungary, the Márkushegy Mine. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules because production aid will decrease over time and Hungary committed to carry out accompanying measures to mitigate the social and environmental impact of the closure.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves amendments to Finnish scheme supporting investment in cleaner ships
    23 January 2012
    The Commission has found amendments to an existing Finnish scheme supporting investment in cleaner ships to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the amendments aim at giving ship-owners incentives to use less polluting fuel, ahead of the entry into force of EU standards to that effect.
    Read more >
  • Commission temporarily approves rescue recapitalisation of Portuguese bank Banif
    21 January 2013
    The Commission has temporarily approved a recapitalisation totalling €1.1 billion granted by Portugal to Banco Internacional do Funchal S.A. (Banif) for reasons of financial stability. Portugal committed to provide a far-reaching restructuring plan for Banif by 31 March 2013. The Commission will take a final decision on the compatibility of the capital injection with EU state aid rules after the assessment of the restructuring measures to be proposed by Portugal.
    Read more >
  • Commission consults on state aid rules for agriculture and forestry
    20 December 2012
    In the context of its state aid modernisation (SAM) initiative, the Commission is seeking stakeholders' views on the state aid rules applicable in the agricultural and forestry sector. The review is aimed at focussing the Commission's review on the most distortive cases, speeding up decision making and aligning the current regime to the new rules that will apply to agriculture and rural development under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. The deadline for submissions is 20 March 2013.
    Go to consultation page >

Court

  • C-646/11 P 3F v Commission (Danish Seafarers case)
    24 January 2013
    The Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on an appeal against a General Court (GC) decision of September 2011. The GC ruling had rejected an action brought by 3F against a Commission decision of November 2002 approving a Danish support scheme for seafarers. The ECJ dismissed the appeal and upheld the GC judgment and the Commission decision. The ECJ confirmed in particular that the four years duration of the Commission's preliminary examination could not in itself justify the opening of a formal investigation procedure.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal >
  • C-529/09 Commission v Spain (Magefesa case)
    24 January 2013
    The Commission had referred Spain to the Court of Justice (ECJ) for not complying with a Commission decision of 1998 that required Spain to recover incompatible state aid from the Magefesa group. The ECJ ruled that by not recovering the entire aid in due time, Spain has failed to fulfill its obligations under the 1998 decision and the Treaty.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 1998 decision >
  • Case C-73/11 P Frucona Košice v Commission
    24 January 2013
    The Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on an appeal against a General Court (GC) judgment of December 2010. The GC ruling had upheld a Commission decision of June 2006 finding that public debt write-offs in favour of Frucona Kosice were incompatible with EU state aid rules. The ECJ set aside the GC ruling and referred the case back to the GC, to give judgment on the pleas on which the GC had not yet ruled.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal >
    Read more on Commission's 2006 decision >
  • Case T-308/00 Salzgitter v Commission
    22 January 2013
    The General Court (GC) ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision of June 2000, finding aid in favour of Salzgitter incompatible with EU state aid rules. The GC fully confirmed the Commission's decision and dismissed the appeal.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2000 decision >
  • Case C-286/11 P Commission v Tomkins (Fittings cartel)
    22 January 2013
    In 2011, the General Court (GC) had aligned a fine, imposed by a Commission decision of 2006 in the copper fittings cartel on Tomkins, on the level to which the GC had reduced the fine of Tomkins' subsidiary Pegler, in another case. The Commission had appealed that ruling. The Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed the appeal and upheld the GC judgment. The ECJ ruled in particular that, where the liability of a parent company is derived exclusively from that of its subsidiary and where both have brought parallel actions having the same object, the GC was entitled, without ruling ultra petita, to take account of the outcome of the action brought by the subsidiary Pegler.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal >
    Read more about Commission's 2006 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.

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