EU Antitrust

Court of Justice of the European Union (Court of Justice) appeals General Court order in Gascogne Sack Deutschland and Gascogne (together Gascogne Sack) damages action. On 11 May 2015, details were published of an action brought by the Court of Justice against a General Court order made in the action brought by Gascogne Sack against the Court of Justice to claim damages for harm suffered as a result of delay by the European Courts in adjudicating its appeal against the industrial bags cartel. The General Court dismissed claims by the Court of Justice that the action brought by Gascogne Sack is inadmissible. The Court of Justice has lodged an appeal against the General Court’s order, claiming that the rules on representation of the European Union before its judicial bodies have not been observed and that the obligation to state reasons has not been complied with.

European Commission (Commission) accepts commitments from Air France / KLM, Alitalia and Delta. On 12 May 2015, the Commission announced that it has decided, under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003, to make binding commitments offered by Air France / KLM, Alitalia and Delta, all members of the SkyTeam airline alliance. These commitments are intended to address concerns that a transatlantic joint venture between Air France / KLM, Alitalia and Delta (involving profit­sharing and the joint management of schedules, pricing and capacity) may restrict competition on three routes (between Paris / Amsterdam / Rome and New York).

EU Mergers

Phase I Mergers

  • M.7456 IMERYS / S&B MINERALS (11 May 2015)
  • M.7594 BROTHER INDUSTRIES / DOMINO PRINTING SCIENCES (11 May 2015)
  • M.7608 BOREALIS SIEGFRIED HOLDINGS / FORTUM DISTRIBUTION AB (12 May 2015)
  • M.7609 OMNES CAPITAL / PREDICA PREVOYANCE / QUADRAN / QUADRICA (12 May 2015)

State Aid

The European Ombudsman (Ombudsman) finds no maladministration by the  Commission in relation to complaint against alleged aid by The Netherlands to the shipbuilding sector. On 7 May 2015, the Ombudsman adopted a decision finding that no maladministration by the Commission for an alleged failure to decide within a reasonable time whether to open a formal investigation into a complaint about state aid allegedly granted by The Netherlands to the shipbuilding sector.

General Court dismisses appeal against Commission decision approving restructuring aid for Austrian Airlines. On 13 May 2015, the General Court handed down its judgment in the appeal by Niki Luftfahrt GmbH against the Commission’s 2009 decision approving restructuring aid granted to Austrian Airlines on its privatisation and sale of the Austrian State’s stake in the airline to Lufthansa. The General Court rejected claims that the Commission erred in finding that the state aid granted to Austrian Airlines, which was included in the negative price to be paid by Lufthansa, was, as restructuring aid, compatible with EU state aid rules. It ruled, in particular,  that the Commission had correctly identified Austrian Airlines as the aid beneficiary and correctly assessed the level of own­contribution made. Further, the notified restructuring measures were fully in accordance with the 2004 Guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid.

Commission approves amendment to Finnish regional aid map 2014­2020. On 13 May 2015, the Commission announced that it has decided to approve a modification of the Finnish regional aid map for the period 2014­2020. In April 2014, the Commission decided that the original regional aid map could be approved in accordance with the Regional Aid Guidelines. Under the modification, in addition to the regions already approved, the regions of Viitasaari­ Pihtipudas and Äänekoski will also become eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.