Competition weekly news summary
22 November 2013


Conferences and Speeches

  • Competition, innovation and growth: an EU perspective on the challenges ahead
    Third BRICS International Competition Conference, New Delhi, Joaquín Almunia
    21 November 2013
    "We strive to stay ahead of market developments. We constantly update our policies and investigative tools. And, of course, we continue to engage with our sister agencies around the world – including in emerging jurisdictions – to keep the global playing field as level as possible."
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Competition

  • Commission signs EU cooperation agreement with India
    21 November 2013
    Vice President of the European Commission, Joaquín Almunia, and Chairman of the Competition Commission of India, Ashok Chawla, signed today in New Delhi a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation between the European Commission's competition department and the Competition Commission of India.
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Antitrust

  • Commission opens proceedings against container liner shipping
    22 November 2013
    The Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings against several container liner shipping companies to investigate whether they engaged in concerted practices, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Container liner shipping is the transport of containers by ship at a fixed time schedule on a specific route between a range of ports at one end (e.g. Shanghai - Hong Kong - Singapore) and another range of ports at the other end (e.g., Rotterdam – Hamburg - Southampton).
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State aid

  • Commission consults on modernising state aid policy through better evaluation
    22 November 2013
    The Commission is inviting comments on a guidance paper aimed at helping Member States to better evaluate to what extent public support schemes have achieved their purpose and what was their impact on markets and competition. The evaluation of aid schemes is an important element of the Commission's state aid modernisation agenda towards more efficient and effective public spending: On the one hand, the state aid reform will enable Member States to grant more aid measures without prior clearance by the Commission. On the other hand, those aid measures which are significant will be assessed more thoroughly than in the past. The guidance paper sets out best practices and key principles, while giving Member States the necessary flexibility to adapt to the specific situations of each evaluation exercise. The Commission's Competition service will then publish the guidance paper on its website and use it as a basis for the evaluations to be carried in the coming years.
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  • Commission takes two decisions on incompatible state aid granted by France to SNCM
    20 November 2013
    Following two judgments by the GC, the Commission has concluded that some state aid granted by France to Société nationale Corse Méditerranée (SNCM) as part of its restructuring and privatisation was incompatible with the EU rules on state aid. SNCM benefited from an undue economic advantage, amounting to some EUR 220 million, in relation to its competitors and must therefore refund that amount. In a separate decision, the Commission has decided to take France to the ECJ for its failure to recover unlawful aid granted to SNCM for the 'additional service' on the Marseilles-Corsica ferry link during the tourist season, which was in fact already provided by the private sector. In May 2013 the Commission had concluded that this aid was incompatible with the EU rules on state aid. This aid should have been recovered from SNCM within four months from that decision. More than six months later, France has yet to take any action.
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  • Commission refers Germany to Court for failure to recover incompatible aid from Deutsche Post
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has referred Germany to the ECJ for failing to comply with a Commission decision of January 2012 ordering the recovery of incompatible state aid from Deutsche Post. The Commission's decision had found that a combination of high regulated prices and pension subsidies granted by Germany gave Deutsche Post AG an undue economic advantage over competitors and was therefore incompatible with EU State aid rules. The Commission ordered Germany to recover the incompatible aid from Deutsche Post and abolish the relevant provisions for the future. Almost two years after the Commission's decision, this has still not been done.
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  • Commission takes action against Italy for failure to respect Court ruling to recover illegal aid
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has referred Italy to the ECJ for failure to implement a previous ruling by the Court that confirmed that certain reliefs granted by Italy from social security contributions in Venice and Chioggia were illegal state aid and had to be recovered from the beneficiaries. The Commission had originally reached this conclusion in a decision in 1999. As this is a second court referral for non-compliance with a previous judgment, the Commission has asked the Court of Justice to impose penalties on Italy.
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  • Commission approves EUR 15.2 million in aid to ALSTOM and the RATP for the development of a new generation of automatic metros
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has found that aid granted by France to ALSTOM and the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), through their joint subsidiary METROLAB, for the implementation of the research and development (R&D) project Métro du Futur ('Metro of the Future') was in line with EU State aid rules. The project aims to develop a fourth-generation automated metro system, i.e. one which is 'fully automatic' and driverless. The aid addresses a genuine market failure without giving rise to an undue distortion of competition.
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  • Commission opens in-depth inquiry into UK financing for small and medium enterprises
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether a UK scheme allowing publicly-backed funds to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is being implemented in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission approves aid for the construction of French airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes
    20 November 2013
    The Commission found that a public subsidy granted by France to Société Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a company situated in Nantes in western France, for the construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport, is compatible with the EU rules on state aid. The project will help improve regional connectivity without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
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  • Commission approves investment aid for purchase of electric vehicles in Amsterdam
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has found that €8.61 million of public funding that The Netherlands intend to grant for a green transportation scheme supporting the use of electric vehicles in the city of Amsterdam is in line with EU state aid rules. The scheme will further EU objectives by decreasing the number of conventional vehicles emitting CO2 and improving the air quality of the city, without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
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  • Commission authorises €448 million aid for construction of Lithuanian LNG terminal
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has found that aid for the construction and operation of a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal, to be developed in the Klaipeda Seaport in Lithuania by AB “Klaipedos nafta”, complies with EU state aid rules. The project aims at increasing the security of gas supply within Lithuania by diversifying its supply sources. The Commission has concluded that the aid furthers EU energy goals without unduly distorting competition as the development of the LNG terminal will integrate Lithuania into the EU gas market and will stimulate competition on the Lithuanian gas markets.
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  • Commission approves Danish support scheme for written media
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has found a Danish support scheme for the production of, and innovation in, written media to be in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission concluded that, in line with EU objectives, the scheme will support media pluralism and the dissemination of high quality socio-political news to citizens in Denmark, without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
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  • Commission clears Belgian support scheme for football stadiums
    20 November 2013
    The Commission has approved a support scheme for the construction or renovation of football stadiums in the Belgian regions of Flanders and Brussels. The stadiums are to be used by first and second league football clubs. The Commission concluded that, in line with EU objectives, the scheme will make sport more accessible for citizens, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
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  • Commission services publish guidance on disaster aid
    18 November 2013
    The Commission's competition services have published guidance to help Member States design state aid measures for compensating companies for the damage suffered from natural disasters, in line with EU state aid rules. The guidance checklist covers the information elements required for the Commission's assessment, such as what's a "natural disaster", what kind of damage is covered, the requirement of a direct link between the damage caused and the natural disaster, etc.
    Go to checklist >

Court

  • Case C-284/12 Lufthansa (state aid)
    21 November 2013
    The ECJ ruled on questions referred by a German court concerning the interpretation of EU state aid rules in a dispute between the German air carrier Lufthansa and the German airport Frankfurt Hahn. The ECJ clarified the effects of a Commission decision to open the formal state aid investigation procedure with regard to a measure. The ECJ held, in particular, that national courts may order the suspension of the measure at hand or the recovery of payments already made under that measure.
    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.

© European Union, 2013. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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