Competition weekly news summary
25 April 2014

Conferences and Speeches

  • Keeping the global playing field level
    ICN 13th annual conference, Marrakech, Joaquín Almunia
    23 April 2014
    "Consumers and law-abiding businesses suffer the same harm if the anti-competitive practices come from domestic or foreign firms; from private companies or state-owned enterprises. Therefore, the responsibility of a competition authority is to keep markets open, level, and contestable – regardless of who breaks the rules."
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  • Commission welcomes Parliament vote to facilitate damages claims by victims of antitrust violations
    17 April 2014
    The European Parliament has approved a proposal for a Directive which will help citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of the EU antitrust rules. The Directive is based on a proposal by the Commission of June 2013, and aims to remove a number of practical difficulties which victims frequently face when they try to obtain compensation for the harm they have suffered. In particular, it will give victims easier access to evidence they need to prove the damage and more time to make their claims. At the same time it ensures that the effectiveness of the tools used by competition authorities to enforce antitrust rules, in particular leniency and settlement programmes, is preserved. The proposal is now sent to the EU Council of Ministers for final approval.
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  • Commission requests Hungary to ensure effective enforcement of competition law regarding agricultural products 17 April 2014
    The Commission has formally requested Hungary to comply with its obligations under EU law, after Hungary adopted a law which essentially prevents the Hungarian competition authority from sanctioning cartels on agricultural products. Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits cartels and restrictive business practices. An effective enforcement of Article 101 TFEU requires the imposition of effective and deterrent fines on undertakings that participate in cartels pursuant to Article 5 of the Antitrust Regulation 1/2003, the duty of cooperation according to Article 4(3) of the EU Treaty and the general EU law principle of effectiveness. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second step of EU infringement procedures. Hungary now has two months to bring its legislation into conformity with EU law, otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the case to the EU Court of Justice. Since the entry into force of the Antitrust Regulation, in May 2004, the Commission and the national competition authorities share parallel competences for the enforcement of EU competition law. They cooperate in the European Competition Network (ECN) to exchange information and inform each other of proposed decisions to ensure an effective and consistent application of EU competition rules.
    Overview infringement decisions April >


  • Commission approves Wood Group and Siemens joint venture for rotating equipment services
    24 April 2014
    The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of a joint venture for rotating equipment services by Wood Group of the US and Siemens of Germany. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because the joint venture will continue to face competition from a number of strong players.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Holcim assets by Cemex
    23 April 2014
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the planned acquisition of the Spanish operations of Swiss building materials group Holcim ("Holcim assets") by its Mexican rival Cemex is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Both companies are global suppliers of cement and other building materials. The Commission has concerns that the transaction may reduce competition in certain areas of Spain where the two companies' activities overlap.
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  • Commission approves acquisition of GTS Central Europe by Deutsche Telekom
    15 April 2014
    The Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of telecommunications company GTS Central Europe of Luxembourg by rival Deutsche Telekom of Germany. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, because the merged entity would continue to face strong competition after the merger and customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all markets affected. (C-5)
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State aid

  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support measures in favour of Latvian Reverta (formerly Parex) and Citadele banka
    16 April 2014
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the additional state support measures granted by Latvia to AS Parex banka (rebranded "Reverta") and AS Citadele banka in the context of their restructuring were in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission also has doubts that the implementation of the approved restructuring plan respects the commitments given by Latvia, aimed at restoring the banks' viability and at limiting distortions of competition.
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Editorial and legal information

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, 2014. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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