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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 08-03-12

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

  • [01] State aid: Commission requests Italy to recover €123 million of unlawful fiscal aid from nine privatised banks
  • [02] Aides d’Etat : La Commission autorise un régime fiscal français de réduction d'ISF pour favoriser l'investissement dans les PME
  • [03] State aid: Commission refers Italy to Court of Justice for failure to recover illegal state aid
  • [04] State aid: Commission authorises Italian aid scheme to promote biodiesel
  • [05] Industrial production up by 0.9% in both euro area and EU27
  • [06] Commission clears acquisition of BUT by Goldman Sachs and Colony Capital
  • [07] Commission clears acquisition of PaP by Hermes Logistik and Swiss Post
  • [08] Commission approves new guidelines on state aid to fisheries
  • [09] Rediffusion
  • [10] I. Résultats de la Commission du 11 mars 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 March 2008
  • [11] Antitrust: Commission fines providers of international removal services in Belgium over €32.7 million for complex cartel
  • [12] State aid: Commission endorses €3.5 million training aid to Volvo Cars Gent
  • [13] State aid: Commission orders reimbursement of loans for 17 R&D projects in the aeronautical sector in Italy
  • [14] Aides d’Etat : La Commission autorise une aide de la France de 99 millions d’euros en faveur du programme de R&D « QUAERO »
  • [15] Commission seeks common approach on the future governance of European Agencies
  • [16] Commission recommends negotiations for an agreement with the United States of America on certain conditions for access to the US Visa Waiver Program
  • [17] Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of DoubleClick by Google
  • [18] Agricultural state aid: Commission ends proceedings into tax refund scheme for German greenhouses
  • [19] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of UBI Vita by Aviva Italia
  • [20] La Commission engage une procédure formelle d’examen la suite d’une plainte concernant une aide d’État éventuelle de l’aéroport de Bratislava Ryanair
  • [21] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of CICA by ACE
  • [22] Peter Zangl appointed Director-General for humanitarian aid
  • [23] II. Other news - Autres Nouvelles
  • [24] Libérer le potentiel d'innovation de l'Europe: le Parlement européen donne son feu vert la création de l'Institut européen d'innovation et de technologie (IEIT)
  • [25] Gas Coordination Group evaluates the recent dispute between Russia and Ukraine Midday Express of 2008-03-12 Reference: MEX/08/0312 Date: 12/03/2008 EXME08 / 12.03

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communicationb

    12/03/08


  • [01] State aid: Commission requests Italy to recover €123 million of unlawful fiscal aid from nine privatised banks

    The European Commission has closed its in-depth investigation under EC Treaty state aid rules into the provision of Italy’s 2004 Finance Law that allowed former public-owned banks to release hidden capital gains matured during their privatisation by paying a nominal tax of 9% instead of the ordinary company tax of 37.25%.

    [02] Aides d’Etat : La Commission autorise un régime fiscal français de réduction d'ISF pour favoriser l'investissement dans les PME

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d’objection en vertu des règles du traité CE sur les aides d’Etat l’égard du régime français de réduction fiscale accordée aux redevables de l'impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) qui investissent dans des PME. La réduction d'ISF sera conditionnée par des investissements dans des PME.

    [03] State aid: Commission refers Italy to Court of Justice for failure to recover illegal state aid

    The European Commission has decided to refer Italy to the Court of Justice for failing to comply with a Commission decision of 14 December 2004 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/04/1494&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr">IP/04/1494) declaring tax incentives in favour of companies taking part in trade fairs abroad incompatible with the Single Market and ordering their recovery from the recipients. More than three years after the decision, the Italian authorities have not yet achieved an effective and immediate execution of the recovery order.

    [04] State aid: Commission authorises Italian aid scheme to promote biodiesel

    The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an Italian tax reduction to stimulate the production and use of biodiesel. The measure modifies and prolongs a previously approved scheme and introduces a supply obligation for biofuels.

    [05] Industrial production up by 0.9% in both euro area and EU27

    In January 2008 compared with December 2007, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.9% in both the euro area (EA15) and the EU272. In December 2007 production remained stable in both zones.In January 2008 compared with January 2007, industrial production rose by 3.8% in the euro area and by 3.5% in the EU27.These estimates are released by Eurostat.

    [06] Commission clears acquisition of BUT by Goldman Sachs and Colony Capital

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of BUT of France by The Goldmann Sachs Group (Goldmann Sachs) of the US and Colyzeo Investors II and Colony Investors VIII, known together as Colony Capital of the US. Goldmann Sachs is an investment banking and securities company. Colony is active in investment and property management. BUT sells household furniture and electricals. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [07] Commission clears acquisition of PaP by Hermes Logistik and Swiss Post

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Swiss Post Porta a Porta SpA (PaP) of Italy by Hermes Logistik GmbH & Co. KG (Hermes) of Germany and Swiss Post International Holding AG (Swiss Post) of Switzerland. Hermes is active in logistic and postal services in Germany and Austria. PaP is active in postal services and logistics in Italy. Swiss Post provides bulk mailing service for letters in Switzerland and abroad, customs clearance, parcel post, courier and express services. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [08] Commission approves new guidelines on state aid to fisheries

    The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on state aid to the fisheries sector. These new guidelines will ensure consistency with the new European Fisheries Fund (EFF). They will also allow for the implementation of the Commission's policy on state aid by taking into account the objectives of both the EU competition policy and of the Common Fisheries Policy. The new rules will allow Member States to grant state aid for most of the measures included in the EFF. However, due to their specific character, aid for the replacement of engines and fishing gear aid and aid for the sustainable development of fisheries areas have not been included. In addition to EFF aid, the new guidelines will allow Member States to grant state aid for compensation for damages caused by natural disasters, exceptional occurrences or bad weather events. The guidelines will also, under certain conditions, allow state aid in the form of tax relief and labour related costs for EU vessels fishing for tuna and tuna-like species outside EU waters and beyond 200 nautical miles. This last measure is designed to discourage EU operators registering their fishing vessels in third countries which do not ensure proper control over the activities of their fishing fleet, especially in terms of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Finally, the new rules provide the conditions regarding state aid for the marketing of fisheries products from the EU's outermost regions and, following the statement of 14 June 2006 by Council and Commission, for state aid related to the development of the fishing fleet in the outermost regions. The new Guidelines will apply from 1 April 2008.

    [09] Rediffusion

    [10] I. Résultats de la Commission du 11 mars 2008 – Outcome of Commission meeting of 11 March 2008

    [11] Antitrust: Commission fines providers of international removal services in Belgium over €32.7 million for complex cartel

    The European Commission has imposed fines, totalling € 32 755 500, on Allied Arthur Pierre, Compas, Coppens, Gosselin, Interdean, Mozer, Putters, Team Relocations, Transworld and Ziegler for fixing prices, sharing the market and bid rigging for international removal services, in violation of the EC Treaty's ban on cartels (Article 81).

    [12] State aid: Commission endorses €3.5 million training aid to Volvo Cars Gent

    The European Commission has concluded that €3.54 million aid, the Flemish Region intends to grant to support training at Volvo Cars Gent ("VCG") is compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules. The Flemish Region notified in May 2007 a €6,02 million aid project. The Commission opened an in-depth investigation (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/1311&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=frr">IP/07/1311), as it had concerns that part of the aid might serve to finance training activities which VCG would have carried out in any event, even without aid.

    [13] State aid: Commission orders reimbursement of loans for 17 R&D projects in the aeronautical sector in Italy

    The European Commission has formally requested Italy, under EC Treaty state aid rules, to ensure that loans granted under Law 808/85 in favour of R&D activities in the aeronautical sector are fully reimbursed. The Commission's in-depth investigation, opened in 2003 following a complaint (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/03/1319&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en">IP/03/1319), concluded that loans worth more than €450 million granted to 17 individual research and development (R&D) projects are not in line with the applicable EU rules on state aid to research and development and need to be modified.

    [14] Aides d’Etat : La Commission autorise une aide de la France de 99 millions d’euros en faveur du programme de R&D « QUAERO »

    La Commission européenne a décidé de ne pas soulever d’objection en vertu des règles du traité CE sur les aides d’Etat l’égard du soutien financier de 99 millions d’euros accordé par la France au programme de recherche-développement (R&D) intitulé « QUAERO ». QUAERO est réalisé par un consortium de 23 partenaires dont le chef de file est le groupe Thomson. Il vise le traitement automatique des contenus numériques multimédias.

    [15] Commission seeks common approach on the future governance of European Agencies

    The European Commission today called for a new approach to looking at the role and governance of European agencies. In recent years, using agencies to implement key tasks has become an established part of the way the European Union does its business. The communication calls on the European Parliament and the Council to give a new momentum to the need to develop a clear and coherent vision on the place of agencies in European governance. The Commission calls for the establishment of an inter-institutional working group to allow the key issues facing agencies to be set out as ground rules to apply to all.

    [16] Commission recommends negotiations for an agreement with the United States of America on certain conditions for access to the US Visa Waiver Program

    Today the Commission recommended to the Council to open negotiations on an agreement between the European Community and the United States of America regarding certain conditions for access to the United States' Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

    [17] Mergers: Commission clears proposed acquisition of DoubleClick by Google

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the online advertising technology company DoubleClick by Google, both of the US. The Commission’s in-depth investigation, opened in November 2007 (see <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/1688&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=fr">IP/07/1688), concluded that the transaction would be unlikely to have harmful effects on consumers, either in ad serving or in intermediation in online advertising markets. The Commission has therefore concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

    [18] Agricultural state aid: Commission ends proceedings into tax refund scheme for German greenhouses

    The European Commission has today terminated the proceedings under state aid legislation into a tax refund scheme for German greenhouses with a positive, and partly negative, decision. The Commission assessed the measure and came to the conclusion that the scheme was compatible with the Common Market insofar at it could be based on the Community guidelines on State aid for environmental protection.

    [19] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of UBI Vita by Aviva Italia

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of UBI Vita, the life insurance branch of UBI S.c.p.a. , by Aviva Italia Holding S.p.A. both of Italy. After examining the operation the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

    [20] La Commission engage une procédure formelle d’examen la suite d’une plainte concernant une aide d’État éventuelle de l’aéroport de Bratislava Ryanair

    À la suite d'une plainte, la Commission européenne a décidé aujourd'hui d'engager une procédure formelle d'examen propos d’un accord de prestation de services aéroportuaires sur le site de l’aéroport de Bratislava. Selon le plaignant, cet accord favoriserait la compagnie Ryanair. Dans sa décision, la Commission exige également que l’aéroport en cause lui fournisse une copie de l’accord, ce qu’il a refusé de faire jusqu’ présent. Sans accès ce document et compte tenu des informations transmises par le plaignant, la Commission s’interroge sur la compatibilité de l’accord avec les règles communautaires en matière d’aides d’État.

    [21] Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of CICA by ACE

    The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Combined Insurance Company of America (CICA) by ACE Limited of the Cayman Islands. The Commission concluded that the operation would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in any substantial part of it.

    [22] Peter Zangl appointed Director-General for humanitarian aid

    Today the European Commission appointed Mr. Peter Zangl as Director-General of the European Community Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO).

    [23] II. Other news - Autres Nouvelles

    [24] Libérer le potentiel d'innovation de l'Europe: le Parlement européen donne son feu vert la création de l'Institut européen d'innovation et de technologie (IEIT)

    Le Parlement européen a adopté aujourd'hui le règlement portant création de l'Institut européen d'innovation et de technologie. Les prochaines étapes consisteront, entre autres, nommer les membres du comité directeur de l'Institut d'ici juin 2008 et établir les deux ou trois premières communautés de la connaissance et de l'innovation (CCI), vers la fin de l'année 2009.

    [25] Gas Coordination Group evaluates the recent dispute between Russia and Ukraine

    At the request of Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, the Gas Coordination Group met in extraordinary session today in Brussels to evaluate the reliability of gas supplies through Ukraine following the dispute which arose last week and the launch of new negotiations between the two parties. After having ascertained that the European market supply was not affected by the supply restrictions imposed on Ukraine the Group underlined the importance and the necessity of urgent clarification of relations between Gazprom and Ukraine as far as domestic Ukrainian gas consumption and gas transit towards the EU is concerned.

    Autre matériel diffusé

    • Memo on The EIT: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    • Memo on Competition: Commission action against cartels – Questions and answers

    • Memo on State aid: Commission orders reimbursement of loans for 17 R&D projects in the aeronautical sector in Italy – frequently asked questions (see also IP/08/417)

    • Memo on Antitrust: Commission carries out inspections in the international airline passenger sector

    • Memo on European agencies – The way forward

    • Speech by President Barroso 'Intervention in the European Parliament debate on the preparation of the 2008 Spring European Council'

    A disposition au secrétariat de Jonathan Todd (BERL 03/315):

    Notification préalable d'une opération de concentration :

    Vivendi / Activision From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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