EUROPEAN UNION

EU General Court upholds Commission’s billion Euro fine on Intel. In 2009 the Commission imposed a fine of €1.06 billion on Intel for having abused its dominant position. Intel had granted price reductions to four PC and server manufacturers in exchange for purchasing most of their supplies from Intel, and to a computer retailer to encourage the sale of PCs with Intel’s equipment. The Commission held that Intel had also granted payments to computer manufacturers to limit the production of computers using Intel’s competitors’ equipment. On the 12th of June, the EU General Court upheld the Commission’s fine. Find out more on this page: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_ MEMO-14-416_en.htm

ICAP suspected of participation in yen interest rate derivatives cartels by the Commission. The Commission issued a Statement of Objections to ICAP, regarding the possibility of a breach of antitrust rules. The Commission alleges ICAP facilitated several cartel infringements in the market of yen interest rates derivatives. During its investigation of this market, the Commission issued fines amounting to more than €660 million on five banks and a cash broker. The Commission’s press release is accessible on this page: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-656_en.htm

New state aid criteria to support important projects in the European Union. The Commission has issued a new Communication setting out criteria for facilitating the support of important projects of common European interest by member states. The Communication is in line with the Commission’s State Aid Modernisation package. It is aimed at achieving the Europe 2020 objectives, and contributing to economic growth, jobs creation and competitiveness in the EU. The new rules could be an opportunity for projects with a transnational dimension which could not be completed with private funds only. The Communication will enter into force on 1 July 2014. More information can be found in the Commission’s press release: http://europa. eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-673_en.htm

State aid: investigation of tax rulings for Apple, Starbucks and Fiat Finance and Trade. The European Commission is investigating the decisions of several tax authorities regarding corporate income tax for Apple in Ireland, Starbucks in the Netherlands and Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg. The inquiry relates to allegations that some member states have, through tax rulings, provided advantages to specific firms. The Commission will assess whether the three transfer pricing agreements validated in the rulings involve state aid beneficiating to the firms. The press release is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press- release_IP-14-663_en.htm

State aid: new exemptions from prior notification. The Commission has revised the general Block Exemption Regulation to now include more aid measures and higher amounts that may be provided by member states without prior authorisation. The broadening of the exemption is aimed at facilitating the allocation of aid that could stimulate economic growth and job creation. It saves member states time, and it allows the Commission to focus on the aids that may actually impede effective competition. The revised Block Exemption Regulation will enter into force on 1 July 2014. More information can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-587_ en.htm

State aid: new rules to support projects in the field of environmental protection and energy. Aiming to help members states reach the EU 2020 climate objectives, the Commission has adopted new rules that facilitate the support of projects in the field of environmental protection and energy. The Commission also provides criteria on how member states can lower the costs incurred by firms exposed to international competition for renewables. More information can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-400_en.htm

Commission imposes fines totalling €30,7 million on steel abrasives producers. The Commission has held that four steel abrasives firms (Ervin, Winoa, Metalltechnik Schmidt and Eisenwerk Würth) have participated in a cartel and coordinated prices for more than six years. The Commission imposed fines totalling €30.7 million. Ervin was not fined as it benefitted from the Commission’s 2006 Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of the cartel. The Commission alleges that the price coordination was meant to escape the important fluctuations of the market for steel abrasives, by imposing a surcharge on the products. More information is available here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP- 14-359_en.htm

Commission imposes fines totalling €302 million on producers of high voltage power cables. The Commission held that eleven producers of high voltage power cables (six European, three Japanese and two Korean) had participated in a cartel and has imposed fines totaling nearly €302 million. The Commission held that producers allocated consumers and projects between themselves on an almost world-wide scale for a decade. According to the Commission, they also agreed on prices to ensure that the allocation of projects would be successful. The Commission’s investigation underlines that the producers were aware they were breaching competition rules, and that they concealed compromising documents. The Commission’s press release can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-358_ en.htm