Competition weekly news summary
5 July 2013


Antitrust

  • Commission opens proceedings against Bulgarian Energy Holding and its subsidiaries Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz
    5 July 2013
    The Commission has opened formal proceedings to investigate whether Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), its gas supply subsidiary Bulgargaz and its gas infrastructure subsidiary Bulgartransgaz might be hindering competitors from accessing key gas infrastructures in Bulgaria, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission sends statement of objections to 13 investment banks, ISDA and Markit in credit default swaps investigation
    1 July 2013
    The Commission has informed some of the world's largest investment banks of its preliminary conclusion that they infringed EU antitrust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements by colluding to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009.
    Read more >
    Frequently asked questions >
    VP Almunia's statement >

Mergers

  • Commission clears acquisition of Italian aviation equipment company Avio by GE, subject to conditions
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the aviation business of Avio S.p.A. of Italy by General Electric Company (GE) of the United States. The decision is conditional upon a series of commitments aimed at safeguarding the competitive position of the Eurojet consortium. Eurojet manufactures the engine for the Eurofighter, a combat aircraft used by Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria and competing with GE-powered aircraft. The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have enabled GE to obtain significant influence in the Eurojet consortium and access strategic information of its competitors. The commitments submitted by GE adequately address these concerns.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission consults on new state aid rules for airports and airlines
    3 July 2013
    The Commission is inviting comments on its review of EU state aid rules on the public financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines. During the last ten years, the market environment of the aviation industry has changed considerably. The Commission proposal takes account of this evolution and provides guidance on how Member States can support airports and airlines in line with EU state aid rules. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will adopt revised guidelines at the beginning of 2014.
    Read more >
    Frequently asked questions >
    VP Almunia's statement >
  • Commission approves Swedish support scheme in favour of young workers
    3 July 2013
    The Commission has authorised a Swedish scheme to subsidise combined work-and-training contracts for young workers aged 15 to 24 (Vocational Introduction Employment) under EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the fight against youth unemployment, in line with EU objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves aid for infrastructure investment at Finnish Vaasa Airport
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has found Finnish plans to grant an investment aid of €320 000 to modernise and enhance the infrastructure of Vaasa airport, on the West coast of Finland, to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the project will improve regional connectivity without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into public funding in favour of Gdynia-Kosakowo airport
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether Polish plans to fund the conversion of the former military airport Gdynia-Kosakowo (Poland) into a civil aviation airport are in line with EU state aid rules. Gdynia-Kosakowo is only 25 kilometres from the existing uncongested airport of Gdansk. At this stage, the Commission has serious concerns that the public funding would give the beneficiary an undue economic advantage over its competitors, in particular the Gdansk airport.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into Slovenian measures in favour of Renault subsidiary Revoz
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether Slovenian plans to grant public financing to car maker Revoz, d.d., a subsidiary of Renault S.A of France for an investment project in the Novo Mesto region are in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission will verify whether the positive effects of the project for regional development outweigh the distortions of competition triggered by the public support.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves €114 million aid for extension of Greek Piraeus port
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has found a €113.9 million Greek support for an infrastructure project of €120 million at the Port of Piraeus to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the project will further the objectives of EU transport policy and cohesion without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth inquiry into State measures in favour of Slovak company Novácké chemické závody (NCHZ)
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the non-payment of social security contributions and other liabilities due to the Slovak state during the bankruptcy proceedings of NCHZ was in line with EU State aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission temporarily approves rescue aid for Cimos Group
    2 July 2013
    The Commission has concluded that a state guarantee of €35 million to be granted by the Slovenian government to Cimos Group is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found, in particular, that the aid is limited in time and scope. The Commission has approved the measure temporarily, until it can take a position on the restructuring plan to be submitted by Slovenia by 21 November 2013.
    Read more >

Court

  • Commission publishes amicus curiae observations in Austrian freight forwarding case
    5 July 2013
    In September 2011, the Commission submitted amicus curiae observations to the Austrian Supreme Court in the context of a case concerning a cartel in the Austrian freight forwarding sector. In December 2011, the Austrian Supreme Court stayed its proceedings to request a preliminary ruling from the ECJ. In June 2012, the ECJ held that an undertaking who has infringed Article 101 TFEU cannot escape the imposition of a fine because that undertaking erred as to the lawfulness of its conduct on account of legal advice given by a lawyer and the terms of a decision of a national competition authority. The ECJ also held that a national competition authority may, by way of exception, confine itself to finding an infringement without imposing a fine where the undertaking concerned has participated in a national leniency programme. These conclusions are largely in line with the observations submitted by the Commission.
    English summary and full amicus curiae observations in German>
    Read full ECJ ruling >
  • C-287/11 P Commission v. Aalberts (Fittings cartel)
    4 July 2013
    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the Commission's appeal against a judgment of the General Court of March 2011. The GC had annulled a fine that the Commission had imposed in 2006 on Aalberts for its participation in a cartel in the sector of copper fittings. The ECJ confirmed the earlier judgment.
    Read ECJ's press release >
    Read full ECJ judgment >
    Read full GC judgment >
    Read more about the Commission's 2006 decision >
  • T-209/11 MB Systems v Commission (Biria state aid case)
    3 July 2013
    The EU General Court (GC) ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision of 2010 ordering Germany to recover unlawful state subsidies from the Biria group. The GC dismissed the appeal and upheld the Commission's decision.
    Read full GC 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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