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Daily News – 24.08.2015

European Commission - Daily News

Daily News 24 / 08 / 15

Brussels, 24 August 2015

Have your say on the review of the Satellite and Cable Directive 

In a public consultation launched today, the European Commission aims at evaluating if EU rules on copyright licensing for TV and radio broadcasting by satellite and cable are still up-to-date in our online environment. It will also look into whether the rules have helped European citizens to get better access to TV and radio content from other Member States. The consultation should gather views in the light of the foreseen review of the 1993 EU Satellite and Cable Directive, one of the 16 initiatives announced in May in the Commission's plan for the Digital Single Market. In particular, the consultation will assess if the "EU SatCabDirective" has facilitated consumers' cross-border access to broadcasting services within the Internal Market. It also seeks views on the possible extension of these rules to certain online content services as part of the broader EU objective to enhance cross-border access to online content services in the EU. To remove other barriers in the Digital Single Market, the Commission is already undertaking a consultation on the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which guaranties the principle of free transmission and reception of television broadcasts or on-demand services across the EU. Furthermore, the Commission will in the coming weeks launch various public debates on such topics as eGovernment, online platforms, geo-blocking and EU telecoms rules. More information is available here. (For more information Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Mirna Talko – Tel.: +32 229 87278)

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules the prolongation of the Polish bank guarantee scheme until 31 December 2015. The scheme covers guarantees and other liquidity support measures in favour of different types of solvent credit institutions in Poland. It was initially approved in September 2009 and prolonged several times, last time in January 2015. In February 2012, the pricing conditions of the scheme were brought in line with the requirements of the Commission's 2011 Communication on state aid to banks during the crisis. Other conditions of the original scheme remain unchanged. The Commission found the prolongation of the scheme to be in line with its guidelines on state aid to banks during the crisis because it is well targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. During the application of the extraordinary crisis rules for state aid to banks, the Commission is authorising guarantee schemes on banks’ liabilities for periods of six months in order to be able to monitor developments and adjust conditions accordingly. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register, under the case number SA.42560. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission clears merger of Varo and Argos oil businesses

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the merger of the oil businesses of Varo and Argos, both of the Netherlands. Varo refines, supplies and trades mineral oil products in several EU Member States. Argos trades and supplies mineral products and provides storage capacity and inland bunkering in several EU Member States. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the low market shares of the companies in markets where they are both active. The Commission also assessed the companies' activities on two related markets: refineries and supply of LPG. Indeed, Varo operates refineries in several Member States and is a potential supplier of LPG autogas, which Argos sells at wholesale level in Belgium and the Netherlands. However, the Commission concluded that refinery operators competing with Varo will still have a sufficient customer base for selling LPG autogas, as Argos is not a significant customer for refineries. Moreover, Varo's position on the refinery level is limited and LPG suppliers competing with Argos will have numerous other sources of supply. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7649. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)


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