Competition weekly news summary
22 March 2013


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Conferences and Speeches

  • European and global perspectives for competition policy
    IBA 9th Competition Mid-Year Conference, Sidney, Joaquín Almunia
    21 March 2013
    "Europe needs to stand united and to act swiftly and with determination to overcome this difficult period. We must use all the tools we have crafted in six decades of integration to defend our common interests. And I am firmly convinced that competition policy has pride of place among these tools. Effective competition control in the Single Market is crucial to help our economy become more resilient and more competitive."
    Read full speech >
  • Time for the Single Market to come of age
    ANZSOG & EABC Competition Policy Conference & Lunch, Melbourne, Joaquín Almunia
    20 March 2013
    "Today I have presented in a nutshell the instruments of EU competition policy and how they contribute to leverage the Single Market and help Europe’s economy become more open and competitive. The Single Market is not only Europe’s economic masterpiece; it has also been our political masterpiece. It is the cornerstone on which we have built the edifice of our integration. In this difficult passage for Europe, I am confident that we will turn again to the internal market to build our future together. And when this happens, not only the Single Market but the European Union itself will have become of age."
    Read full speech >

Competition

  • Commission calls for proposals for 2013 training of national judges
    15 March 2013
    The Commission has launched its 2013 call for proposals for projects on the training of national judges in EU competition law and judicial cooperation. Projects must cover the implementation of Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU and may include the issue of private enforcement and/or state aid rules. Grants may be awarded to support measures taken by bodies which foster judicial cooperation and other measures aimed at promoting training in EU competition law for national judges:
    • conferences, seminars, symposia or meetings on EU competition law for national judges;
    • training in EU competition law as part of study programmes for national judges;
    • the distribution of information on EU competition law tailored to the needs of national judges;
    • cooperation, including through networks and databases, between judicial authorities or other bodies responsible for encouraging or monitoring the proper application of EU competition law by national judges.
    The deadline for the submission of applications is 30 April 2013.
    Go to call for proposals >

State aid

  • Commission clears financing of Polish Nauta Shipyard
    20 March 2013
    After an in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that the acquisition of bonds worth PLN 120 million (around €40 million) of Nauta Shipyard by the State-owned Polish Industrial Development Agency (IDA) was in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found that the bonds were acquired on market terms and therefore did not give Nauta an undue economic advantage. As a result, the financing does not constitute state aid in the meaning of EU rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves UK support scheme for early study work on carbon capture and storage demonstration projects
    20 March 2013
    The Commission has found a UK scheme to fund front-end engineering design (FEED) studies on carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the measure will contribute to fighting climate change, in line with EU objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
    Read more >
  • Commission orders partial recovery of state aid granted to short-term export-credit insurance companies Ducroire of Belgium and SACE BT of Italy
    20 March 2013
    The Commission has concluded two separate in-depth investigations into support measures granted to Ducroire of Belgium and to SACE BT of Italy by their respective state-owned parent entities, Office National du Ducroire (ONDD) and SACE. In the case of SACE BT, the Commission found part of the aid to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it was granted on market terms. For Ducroire, the Commission found that part of the measure supported activities that were not open to competition and therefore did not constitute state aid. However, in both cases part of the state support was granted in breach of EU state aid rules because it subsidised insurance products that were readily available from private operators on the market. This procured an undue economic advantage to the beneficiaries, which they now have to pay back to the Italian and Belgian States.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves changes to the restructuring plan of Croatian shipyard Brodotrogir
    20 March 2013
    The Commission has authorised an amendment to the restructuring plan for Brodotrogir, one of the Croat shipyards in difficulty. Indeed, the distortion of competition that may arise from the modest increase in the total amount of restructuring aid is offset by the additional compensatory measures proposed by Croatia, in line with EU Guidelines on state aid for restructuring companies in difficulty. Moreover, Croatia committed to sign the privatisation contract for the yard within two weeks from the receipt of the Commission decision. This will allow the completion of the privatisation process by 1 July 2013, i.e. the date of accession of Croatia to the EU, as foreseen in the Act of Accession.
    Read more >

Court

  • Case C-613/11 Commission v Italy (Sardinia Ferries)
    21 March 2013
    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the implementation of a Commission decision of July 2007 ordering Italy to recover incompatible state aid from Sardinia Ferries. The ECJ found that by failing to recover the aid within the prescribed period, Italy had failed to fulfill its obligations unde the Commission's 2007 decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2007 decision >
  • C-405/11 P Commission v Buczek Automotive and Poland
    21 March 2013
    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the Commission's appeal against a General Court (GC) ruling that had partly annulled a Commission decision of October 2007 ordering Poland to recover incompatible aid from the the Polish steel group Technologie Buczek. The ECJ dismissed the appeal and confirmed the earlier GC judgment.
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC ruling under appeal >
    Read more about Commission's 2007 decision >
  • Case T-489/11 Ruse Industry v Commission
    20 March 2013
    The General Court (GC) ruled on an appeal by the Bulgarian company Ruse Industry against a Commission decision of July 2011 ordering Bulgaria to recover incompatible aid from Ruse. The GC dismissed the appeal and entirely confirmed the Commission's decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2011 decision >
  • Case T-92/2011 Andersen v Commission (Danske Statsbaner)
    20 March 2013
    The General Court (GC) ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision of February 2010 finding the public service transport contract between the Danish Ministry of Transport and Danske Statsbaner, the incumbent Danish railway company, to be in line with EU state aid rules. The GC partly annulled the Commission decision on formal grounds. The GC held in particular that the Commission had applied a wrong legal basis for assessing the case.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2010 decision >
  • Commission welcomes Court judgment on French State intervention in France Télécom
    19 March 2013
    The Commission welcomes a judgment by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), regarding a shareholder declaration and loan carried out by the French State in favour of the national telecommunications incumbent France Télécom. In particular, the ECJ invalidated the General Court's (GC) findings of May 2010 that the public declaration of support for France Télécom by the Minister for economic affairs and the subsequent shareholder loan by the French State did not entail a transfer of State resources – and thus did not constitute state aid. The ECJ found that the GC wrongly required a close connection between the advantage for the company and the commitment of State resources. Although this loan was not taken up by France Télécom, it conferred an advantage granted through State resources that could potentially have burdened the State budget. The Commission was therefore right to qualify that advantage as state aid in favour of France Télécom. The judgment clarifies the position of a State that intervenes in favour of a company of which it is also the owner, with regard to EU state aid rules. The case has been sent back to the GC, which will now rule on the other aspects of the case that it had not dealt with when it annulled the Commission decision.
    Read more >
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal >

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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, 2013. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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