Competition weekly news summary
1 March 2013

Conferences and speeches

  • Relying on the Single Market for the future of Europe
    European Competition Forum, Brussels
    28 February
    Commissioner Almunia opened the European Competition Forum with a wide-ranging analysis of the role competition policy can play at this delicate juncture for Europe.
    Policy development and enforcement work are intended to put competition policy in the best possible conditions to contribute to the European response to the crisis and to its efforts to restart growth and create jobs.
    "I am convinced that ensuring competition in the Single Market is a pre-condition to increase the productivity of our economy", he said. Ensuring keen competition in the internal market "does not cost a cent and works like a structural reform whose benefits can be felt over a long time".
    Read more >
  • Introductory remarks on Merger Ryanair / Aer Lingus
    Press conference, Brussels
    27 February
    "I reached the conclusion that this acquisition could not be allowed. Indeed it would have directly harmed passengers, who would have had to pay higher fares as a result. Ryanair made some proposals to try to remedy these concerns. We studied them with great care and we carried out as many as three successive market tests, gathering views from competitors, customers, travel agents, consumer associations, public authorities and airport operators. In the end, the outcome of our analysis was very clear: these remedies were not sufficient given the seriousness of the competition problems at stake".
    Read more >

Antitrust

  • Commission sends second statement of objections to ENI and Versalis in synthetic rubber cartel after General Court judgment
    1 March
    The European Commission has informed ENI S.p.A. and its affiliate Versalis S.p.A., previously known as Polimeri Europa S.p.A., that it intends to re-impose a 50% fine uplift for recidivism, representing €90.75 million, in the context of the synthetic rubber cartel investigation. The Commission had originally imposed fines on these two companies in November 2006 for participating in a cartel in this sector. The uplift imposed for recidivism had been annulled by the General Court on 13 July 2011. The General Court ruled that the Commission had not explained sufficiently its conclusion that one and the same undertaking had repeated an infringement.
    The Commission has now provided full details on this issue to remedy the Court's criticism. The sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the re-opened investigation. The addressees now have the opportunity to reply to the Commission's objections before any amending decision re-imposing the fine uplift is taken.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission prohibits Ryanair's proposed takeover of Aer Lingus
    27 February
    The acquisition would have combined the two leading airlines operating from Ireland. The Commission concluded that the merger would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on 46 routes where, currently, Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete vigorously against each other. This would have reduced choice and, most likely, would have led to price increases for consumers travelling on these routes.
    During the investigation, Ryanair offered remedies. The Commission assessed them thoroughly and carried out several market tests. However the remedies proposed fell short of addressing the competition concerns raised by the Commission.
    Read more >
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Court

  • Case C-246/12 P Ellinika Nafpigia AE v European Commission
    28 February
    The Court of Justice confirms the validity of the Commission’s decision according to which Greece was required to recover the aid, granted to the Skaramangkas shipyards, which was incompatible with the common market.
    Read Court's press release >
    Read full judgment >

  • Case T-387/11 Nitrogénművek Vegyipari v Commission
    27 February
    This case concerns the Commission's decision of 27 October 2010 declaring the loans amounting to around €88 million granted by the Hungarian Development Bank MFB and covered by state guarantees to the Hungarian fertiliser producer Nitrogénművek illegal state aid. The aid was found partly compatible with the Temporary Framework and the Commission ordered recovery of the incompatible part.
    The beneficary Nitrogénművek launched an appeal at the General Court against the Commission recovery decision. The Court has dismissed the appeal.
    Read full judgment >

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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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