Competition

The schedule of public holidays for 2011 has been published.

State Aid

The European Commission has published a statement on aid for Opel Europe. The Commission stressed that the restructuring plan of new Opel Europe must guarantee that the company will be viable in the future and that any financial support by public authorities must fully comply with the EU’s state aid and internal market rules.

UK Competition

The OFT announced that it will not refer the newspaper and magazine distribution sector to the Competition Commission.

On 29 March 2007 the Office of Fair Trading made a reference to the Competition Commission (CC) under section 131 of the Enterprise Act 2002 concerning the supply of airport services by BAA in the United Kingdom. The CC published its report titled BAA airports market investigation: A report on the supply of airport services by BAA in the UK on 19 March 2009 and has now published its Notice of a proposal to accept undertakings and public consultation on the undertakings.

Competition EU Member States

Hungary: The Competition Authority fined Visa, MasterCard and several commercial banks for fixing the fees they charge each other after bank card transactions.

Cement

The Commission confirmed that Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of undertakings active in the cement and related products industry in Spain.

Financial Services

The European Commission has adopted a package of draft legislation to strengthen the supervision of the financial sector in Europe. The legislation will create a new European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) to detect risks to the financial system as a whole with a critical function to issue early risk warnings. It will also set up a European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), composed of national supervisors and three new European Supervisory Authorities for the banking, securities and insurance and occupational pensions sectors.

The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Limited, a business division of the UK-based Barclays group, by BlackRock, Inc., based in the US. Both companies are global asset managers.

Pharmaceuticals

The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of the Austrian generic pharmaceuticals company EBEWE Spezial–Pharma Holding by Novartis of Switzerland, a pharmaceutical company with both originator and generic activities.

Electronics

The European Commission has approved the acquisition by Sony Corporation of Japan of the small- and medium-size TFT-LCD (thin-film-technology liquid crystal display) business of Seiko Epson Corporation, also of Japan.