Competition weekly news summary
8 May 2014


Competition

  • Annual report shows how competition policy contributes to boosting competitiveness
    6 May 2014
    The Commission's 2013 report on competition policy shows that competition enforcement helps promoting growth and competitiveness across the EU. Antitrust enforcement prevents dominant companies from shutting out competitors from the market and creates the conditions for lower input prices for EU industry. Merger control keeps markets open and efficient. State aid policy maintains a level playing field for companies in the Single Market and helps to steer public resources towards growth-enhancing objectives. Competition enforcement is also an essential counterpart to ex-ante regulation and a key tool to preserve the EU's principal asset – the Single Market.
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Mergers

  • Commission approves PVC joint venture between INEOS and Solvay, subject to conditions
    8 May 2014
    Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has cleared the proposed combination of the European chlorvinyls businesses of INEOS AG of Switzerland and Solvay S.A. of Belgium into a newly created joint venture. The approval is conditional upon the divestiture of certain of INEOS' suspension polyvinyl chloride ("S-PVC") plants and related assets. This divestment will provide its purchaser with a self-standing S-PVC business capable of competing with the new joint venture. The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have enabled the merged entity to raise prices for S-PVC in North West Europe and for sodium hypochlorite ("bleach") in the Benelux, since it combined the two largest suppliers in these markets. The commitments offered address these concerns.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Dutch cable operator Ziggo by Liberty Global
    8 May 2014
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of Dutch cable operator Ziggo by the telecommunications group Liberty Global, headquartered in London, is in line with the EU Merger Regulation. Liberty Global – through its subsidiary UPC – and Ziggo both own a cable network in the Netherlands through which they provide various retail pay TV and telecommunications services. Both companies also operate a premium pay TV film channel in the Netherlands. The Commission has concerns that the transaction may reduce competition in a number of pay TV and telecommunications markets in the Netherlands.
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State aid

  • New handbook on EU broadband state aid
    8 May 2014
    The Commission has published new guidance to help governments invest in broadband. The handbook is useful for any public authority investing in broadband or looking at co-funding projects with EU structural and investment funds.
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  • Commission approves Greek regional aid map 2014-2020
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has approved Greek'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.
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  • Commission approves investment aid for UK airports St Mary's and Land's End
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has found public financing for infrastructure renovations at the two UK airports St. Mary's and Land's End to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that one measure does not constitute state aid whereas the other measure will further EU transport policy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. Indeed, the two airports are important for connecting the remote archipelago of the Isles of Scilly with the British mainland, to the benefit of both residents and visitors.
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  • Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Denmark
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has approved Denmark'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 approves measures for Waste-to-Energy project in Dublin, Ireland
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has found that a series of measures by the Dublin local authorities to participate in the Waste-to-Energy project in Poolbeg, Dublin, are in line with the EU state aid rules. Since the project will be carried out on market terms, it does not involve any state aid within the meaning of the EU rules.
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  • Commission approves restructuring aid in favour of Irish bank AIB
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has found that restructuring aid granted by Ireland to Allied Irish Banks plc (AIB) and its subsidiary EBS is in line with EU state aid rules. The restructuring plan sets out the right path for AIB to return to long-term viability without further state support, while ensuring that the bank and its owners contribute to the cost of restructuring and limiting the distortions of competition created by the aid.
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  • Commission approves French regional aid map 2014-2020
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has approved France's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013. The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves Maltese regional aid map 2014-2020
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has approved Malta's map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines adopted in June 2013. The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
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  • Commission approves amended financing regime of Belgian broadcaster RTBF
    7 May 2014
    The Commission has concluded that the financing regime of Belgium's French language public service broadcaster RTBF, in its amended form, is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, Belgium has made several commitments to clarify RTBF's public service remit and ensure that RTBF's public financing is limited to what is necessary to fulfil its tasks as a public service broadcaster. This will ensure that RTBF does not use public money for commercial activities (where it competes with private players that receive no such subsidies). Belgium has now one year to implement the commitments.
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Court

  • Case C-414/12 P (Carbonless paper cartel)
    30 April 2014
    The EU Court of Justice ruled on an appeal by Bolloré against a General Court ruling that had dismissed its action for annulment of a Commission decision of June 2010. By that decision, the Commission had re-imposed a fine on Bolloré for participating in a cartel in the market for carbonless paper, after the EUCJ had annulled the Commission's initial decision for procedural reasons, in so far as it concerned Bolloré. The EUCJ dismissed the appeal and fully upheld the earlier GC judgment and the Commission's 2010 decision. The EUCJ found in particular that Bolloré's rights of defence had not been infringed and rejected Bolloré's argument that it was no longer in a position to defend itself because of the long period of time that had elapsed since the infringement.
    Read full EUCJ judgment >
    Read full GC ruling >
    Read more about Commission's 2010 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.

© European Union, 2014. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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