Competition weekly news summary
28 March 2014

Antitrust

  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the sector of automotive exhaust systems
    25 March 2014
    On 25 March 2014, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the automotive exhaust systems industry in several Member States. The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant market position.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into measures in favour of Trenitalia and other members of Ferrovie dello Stato group
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether certain public service compensations and free asset transfers in the Italian rail freight transport market are in line with EU state aid rules. These measures benefit companies within the Ferrovie dello Stato group - the Italian railway incumbent in particular its subsidiaries Trenitalia SpA and FS Logistica SpA. The Commission will examine if the measures conferred a selective economic advantage on Trenitalia or other companies within the group to the detriment of its competitors.
    Read more >
  • Commission finds that German land development scheme does not involve state aid
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has concluded that a German scheme providing direct grants for the development and revitalisation of land does not constitute state aid. The Commission has found that the development of land by local authorities is part of their public tasks and therefore outside the realm of EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission approves UK video games tax relief plan
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has concluded that UK plans to grant certain tax relief to producers of video games are in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission has found in particular that the measure provides incentives to developers to produce games meeting certain cultural criteria, in line with EU objectives.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves 71 million investment aid to modernise Italian Port of Salerno
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has concluded that funding for an investment project in the amount of 71.1 million from the European Regional Development Fund to the Port of Salerno in Italy (Campania Region) is in line with EU state aid rules. The project will further EU transport objectives, such as preserving a wide range of integrated maritime connections in Europe, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
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  • Commission approves aid for on-shore wind power in France; opens in-depth inquiry into tax reductions for large energy consumers
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has concluded that a French scheme providing support to the production of electricity from on-shore wind installations is compatible with EU state aid rules. Under the scheme, producers of renewable energy are compensated for additional production costs in line with EU guidelines, and do not receive overcompensation. In parallel, the Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether three types of reductions of renewable energy surcharges granted to large energy consumers in France (so-called CSPE) are in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission approves aid of 43.65 million for the IFMAS research programme in the field of green chemistry
    27 March 2014
    The Commission concluded that the aid granted by France to the IFMAS public-private partnership for the development of plant-based plastics and bio-based paints was in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission felt that the project would help to achieve EU targets in the area of science and the environment without unduly distorting competition in the European internal market.
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  • Commission finds that Greek mining company Larco received incompatible state aid; opens way to sale of some assets
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has concluded that Greek public support measures granted to Larco General Mining and Metallurgical Company S.A. gave the company an undue advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU state aid rules. In total, the capital injections and public guarantees were worth 136 million. The Commission has found that Larco must pay back the amount with interest to mitigate the distortions of competition resulting from the incompatible aid. Certain assets of Larco, a State-owned company, are currently being privatised. The Commission has in a separate decision concluded that the repayment obligation will not be passed on to the buyers of these assets.
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  • Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Sweden
    27 March 2014
    The Commission has approved under EU state aid rules Sweden's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020. The map is based on the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013, which set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. The guidelines aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
    Read more >
  • Commission orders Luxembourg to deliver information on tax practices
    24 March 2014
    The Commission has called on Luxembourg to submit information that the Commission needs in order to assess whether certain tax practices favour certain companies, in breach of EU state aid rules. As Luxembourg failed to adequately answer previous requests for information, the Commission has now adopted two information injunctions ordering Luxembourg to deliver the requested information within one month. Should Luxembourg persist in its refusal, the Commission may refer the issue to the EU Court of Justice.
    Read more >

Court

  • Joined cases T-73/09 and T-56/09 Saint Gobain (car glass cartel)
    27 March 2014
    The GC ruled on two appeals against a Commission decision of November 2008 fining several companies for operating a cartel on the markets for carglass. The GC largely rejected Saint Gobain's pleas and clarified that a period of 14 years between infringements is not too long for a finding of recidivism. The Court also reduced Saint-Gobain's fine from 880 million to 715 million, because it judged that the fine increase for recidivism was not entirely justified.
    Read full judgment >
    Read Court's press release >
    Read more about Commission's 2008 decision >
  • C-612/12 P Ballast Nedam (Bitumen Netherlands cartel)
    27 March 2014
    The EUCJ ruled on an appeal by Ballast Nedam against an earlier GC judgment that had dismissed Ballast Nedam's appeal against a Commission decision of September 2006 fining several companies for operating a cartel in the markets for road pavement bitumen in the Netherlands. The EUCJ reduced Ballast Nedam's fine by 1.2 million.
    Read full EUCJ judgment >
    Read Court's press release >
    Read full GC judgment >
    Read more about the Commission's 2006 decision >

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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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