Competition weekly news summary
18 October 2013


Conferences and Speeches

  • Competition among financial markets operators
    ECMI Annual Conference (National Bank of Belgium), Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    17 October 2013
    "When it comes to competition control, financial markets are markets like any other. They will not receive special treatment from us, only special attention when financial stability is at stake."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission consults on commitments offered by Samsung Electronics regarding use of standard essential patents
    17 October 2013
    The Commission invites comments from interested parties on commitments offered by Samsung Electronics in relation to the enforcement of standard essential patents (SEPs) it owns in the field of mobile communications. The Commission has concerns that Samsung’s seeking of injunctions against Apple in the EEA on the basis of its mobile SEPs may have amounted to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules. To remedy these concerns, Samsung has offered to abstain from seeking injunctions for mobile SEPs for a period of five years against any company that agrees to a particular licensing framework. Interested parties can now submit their comments within one month. If the Commission concludes, in light of the comments received, that the commitments address the competition concerns, it may decide to make them legally binding on Samsung.
    Read more >
    Frequently asked questions >

Mergers

  • Commission accepts to assess acquisition of Holcim's Spanish cement operations by rival Cemex at Spain's request
    18 October 2013
    The Commission has accepted a request from Spain to assess the proposed acquisition of Holcim's cement operations in Spain by rival Cemex under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission concluded that the transaction threatens to affect competition within Spain and that the Commission is the best placed authority to assess the potential cross-border effects of the transaction. The Commission will now ask Cemex to notify the project.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission clears €465 million aid for developing Polish gas network
    16 October 2013
    The Commission has found a 1 950 million PLN (approx. €465 million) support measure for the construction of a series of gas pipelines and modernisation works in different parts of Poland to be in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission has concluded that the project will further EU energy goals without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
    Read more >
  • Commission confirms that debt write-off for Slovak alcohol producer Frucona Košice is incompatible with EU rules
    16 October 2013
    Following a judgment by the ECJ (case C-73/11 P) on its previous decision, the Commission has adopted a new decision confirming that a Slovak SKK 416.5 million (€11 million) write-off of tax debt in favour of Frucona Košice, a.s. was incompatible with EU state aid rules. The non-payment of taxes that its competitors had to bear has given Frucona Košice an undue economic advantage. In order to redress the distortion of competition caused by the debt write-off, the company has to pay the due amounts with interest.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises €134 million aid for Greek gas infrastructure projects
    16 October 2013
    The Commission has found that aid to four projects aimed at improving and expanding the Greek gas network complies with EU state aid rules. These projects aim at increasing the gas transmission capacity and security of gas supply within Greece and indirectly at reducing CO2 emissions. The Commission has concluded that the aid furthers EU energy goals without unduly distorting competition in the EU internal market.
    Read more >
  • Commission launches in-depth enquiry into Belgian funding for Duferco
    16 October 2013
    The Commission has launched an in-depth enquiry to determine whether the funding granted to steel group Duferco by the Walloon region of Belgium complies with the European Union's state aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises phasing-out of Belgian biofuel support scheme
    16 October 2013
    The Commission has found a 12-months phasing-out of excise duty reductions granted by Belgium to seven biofuel producers to be in line with EU state aid rules. The seven producers, who were selected in 2006 following a call for application, will continue to benefit from the reduction until 30 September 2014 for a limited volume of biofuels, so as to ensure a smooth transition towards a new biofuel support scheme to be put in place in 2014. The new scheme that will be notified to the Commission before the end of 2013 will promote the production of particularly sustainable biofuels.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into airlines operating at Spanish airports Girona-Costa Brava and Reus
    16 October 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether marketing agreements concluded between public authorities and airlines using Girona-Costa Brava and Reus airports in Catalonia are in line with EU State aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into new Gibraltar corporate tax regime
    17 October 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the new Gibraltar corporate tax regime selectively favours certain categories of companies, in breach of EU state aid rules. The Commission will in particular examine the exemption for passive income such as royalties and interest from corporate tax.
    Read more >

Court

  • Case C-344/12 Commission v Italy (Alcoa)
    17 October 2013
    In November 2009, the Commission had found state aid granted by Italy to Alcoa to be incompatible with EU state aid rules and had ordered Italy to recover the aid from the beneficiary. In July 2012, the Commission brought an action before the ECJ because Italy had still not recovered the aid. The ECJ confirmed that by failing to recover the aid, Italy had breached its obligations under the decision.
    Read Court's press release >
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2009 decision >
    Go to case file >
  • Case C-263/12 Commission v Greece (Ellinikos Xrysos mines)
    17 October 2013
    In February 2011, the Commission had found state aid granted by Greece to Ellinikos Xrysos to be incompatible with EU state aid rules and had ordered Greece to recover the aid from the beneficiary. In May 2012, the Commission brought an action before the ECJ because Greece had still not recovered the aid. The ECJ has now confirmed that by failing to recover the aid, Greece has breached its obligations under the decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2011 decision >
    Go to case file >
  • Case T-275/11 TF1 v Commission (France Télévisions)
    16 october 2013
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by the French broadcaster TF1 against a Commission decision of July 2010 finding the yearly financing mechanism of France Télévisions to be in line with EU state aid rules. TF1 had challenged this decision before the EU General court. The GC dismissed the appeal and fully upheld the Commission's decision.
    Read more >
    Go to Court's press release >
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2010 decision >
  • T-432/10 Vivendi v Commission (France Télécom)
    16 October 2013
    The General Court ruled on Vivendi's appeal against a Commission decision of 2009, rejecting Vivendi's complaint against an alleged abuse of a dominant market position by France Télécom. The GC dismissed Vivendi's appeal and entirely upheld the Commission's decision.
    Read full judgment >

Competition

  • Commission appoints new competition hearing officer
    8 October 2013
    The Commission has appointed Joos Stragier, formerly head of unit in the competition DG, as second hearing officer for competition cases, following the retirement of Michael Albers. M. Stragier has taken office on 16 October. Hearing Officers are invested by the Commission with independent decision-making powers, are not members of DG Competition and report directly to the Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia.

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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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