Competition weekly news summary
16 May 2014


Conferences and Speeches

  • Honing the instruments of EU competition control
    International Competition Law Forum, St. Gallen, Joaquín Almunia
    15 May 2014
    "The evolution of the current debate about the role of competition policy in the digital era and the political conclusions that will follow will define our enforcement action in the coming years. Recently, Chancellor Merkel and EPP candidate Jean-Claude Juncker have joined the debate. Denouncing the fragmentation of telecom markets in Europe, they called – among other things – for the reform of EU competition law in the sector. I agree with their analysis, but I do not agree with the solution they proposed. Starting from the reform of competition rules would be misguided and it would have as a consequence a transfer of costs towards the consumers. A different course of action is required. The first and most important step to take must be tearing down the barriers that still fragment the Single Market along national borders. But this is beyond the remit of competition policy. In fact, these barriers are kept in place by many EU national governments. What political leaders are asking for requires solutions that are first and foremost in their hands."
    Read full speech >
  • Competition: the heart of the matter
    Alexander Italianer gave the Europe-lecture at the University of Leiden.
    13 May 2014
    "In Brussels we work on solutions. But the voter points the way. The voter decides which Europe they want to have."
    Read full speech in Dutch >

State aid

  • Commission approves amendments to restructuring plan of UK bank Lloyds Banking Group
    13 May 2014
    The Commission has concluded that proposals by the UK authorities to amend conditions for the divestment of Lloyds Banking Group's (LBG) UK retail business, in the context of LBG's restructuring plan, are in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission has found that a delay in the divestment of LBG's UK retail bank entity Verde (rebranded TSB), will not jeopardise the viability of the business. The Commission has also accepted changes in the scope of the divestment, in particular the removal of certain assets and liabilities, as they will leave TSB in a better financial position and will therefore reinforce its ability to effectively compete in the market despite a reduced balance sheet.
    Read more >

Court

  • Case C-90/13 P (calcium carbide cartel)
    15 May 2014
    The EU Court of Justice ruled on an appeal by the Slovak investment company 1.garantovana against a General Court ruling that had dismissed its action for annulment of a Commission decision of July 2009. By that decision, the Commission had fined several companies for participating in a cartel in the market for calcium carbide and magnesium based reagents and had held 1.garantovana liable for the cartel conduct of its then portfolio company Novácke chemické závody. The EUCJ dismissed the appeal and upheld the earlier GC judgment and the Commission's 2009 decision. The EUCJ found in particular that the Commission was correct not to calculate the 10% turnover ceiling for 1.garantovaná on the basis of the last worldwide turnover.
    Read full EUCJ judgment >
    Read full GC ruling >
    Read more about Commission's July 2009 decision >
  • Case T-30/10 (heat stabilisers cartel)
    14 May 2014
    The General Court ruled on an action by Reagens against a Commisison decision of November 2009 that had fined several companies for participating in a cartel in the markets for heat stabilisers. The GC rejected all claims and fully upheld the Commission's findings.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's November 2009 decision >
  • Case T-406/09 (calcium carbide cartel)
    14 May 2014
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by Donau Chemie against a Commission decision of July 2009 that had fined serveral companies for participating in a cartel in the market for calcium carbide and magnesium based reagents. The GC rejected most of Donau Chemie's claims but slightly reduced the fine.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission's July 2009 decision >
  • Case C-184/11 (Basque fiscal state aid cases)
    13 May 2014
    The EU Court of Justice ruled on Spain's compliance with a Commission decision of 2001 finding certain tax credits granted by the provinces of Alava, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa to be incompatible with EU state aid rules and ordering Spain to recover the aid. The EUCJ held that Spain had failed to comply with the Commission's 2001 decision and with a previous EUCJ judgment of 2006. In 2011, the EUCJ had already dismissed actions for annulment of the Commission's 2001 decision.
    Read full 2014 EUCJ judgment >
    Read full 2006 EUCJ judgment >
    Read full 2011 EUCJ judgment >
    Read Court's press release on 2011 judgment >
    Read more about Commission's 2001 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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