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Daily News – 25.01.2012

EXME 12/ 25.01

Midday Express of 2012-01-25

News from the European Commission's Midday Briefing

Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Commission européenne

State aid: Commission scrutinises state funding of purchasers of Polish shipyards' assets

The European Commission opens formal inquiries into public support for two purchasers of assets of the Gdynia shipyard, which is under liquidation. Possible aid granted to these purchasers will be scrutinised in light of EU state aid rules.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring aid for Air Malta

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether a €130 million restructuring aid for the Maltese state-owned airline Air Malta is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will examine in particular whether the planned measures are appropriate to restore the company's long-term viability and whether they ensure sufficient compensation for the distortions of competition triggered by the state support. The opening of an in-depth investigation allows interested third parties to comment on the measures under investigation. It does not prejudge the final outcome.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigations in air transport sector in France, Germany and Sweden

The European Commission will investigate whether financial arrangements between public authorities and the airports of Niederrhein-Weeze, Altenburg-Nobitz (both in Germany), Pau (France) and Västerås (Sweden), as well as rebates and marketing agreements concluded between these airports and some of the airlines using them, are in line with EU State aid rules. The opening of proceedings gives interested third parties an opportunity to submit comments on the measures under assessment; it does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

State aid: Commission adopts a package of four decisions concerning the incumbent postal operators in Germany, Belgium, France and Greece

The European Commission has adopted a package of four decisions concerning state aid granted by Germany, Belgium, France and Greece to their respective incumbent postal operators. In two of them – Bpost and Deutsche Post – the Commission has ordered the recovery of incompatible aid.

State aid: Commission approves state aid for Danish Amagerbanken

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, an equity injection of DKK 1.2 billion (€161 million), a liquidity facility of up to DKK 20 billion (€2.68 billion) and a subordinated loan of up to DKK 500 million (€67 million) for the winding-up of the Danish Amagerbanken. The measures are in line with EU rules on state aid for banks during the crisis, in particular because they are necessary for the orderly winding down of Amagerbanken while limiting distortion of competition to the minimum. Amagerbanken was the 8th largest bank in Denmark in terms of assets and focussed on retail and corporate banking. On 7 February 2011, it had to apply for resolution under the Danish winding-up scheme for financial institutions in distress (see IP/10/1266, MEX/10/1207 and MEX/11/0628) due to its incapability to further refinance its activities on the capital markets. On 6 June 2011, the Commission had already approved rescue aid in favour of Amagerbanken (see IP/11/676). On 5 August 2011, Denmark submitted a restructuring plan that allows for the resolution of Amagerbanken under the Danish scheme. One part of the bank will be progressively run down over several years and will not engage in new activities, while the healthy part of Amagerbanken has been sold to BankNordik following a tender process. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33485 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

European railways: Commission promotes interoperability and competitiveness

Today, the European Commission adopted a decision strengthening the certification and authorisation process of lines and trains equipped with the European Train Control System (ETCS). ETCS is the European standard for train signalling and speed control. Deployment of ETCS across key freight and high speed corridors will greatly improve the competitiveness of European railways.

Translating mineral resource wealth into real development for Africa

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani responsible for industry and enterprise policy will open the High Level Conference, “Translating mineral resource wealth into real development for Africa” in Brussels on 26 January 2012. Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, responsible for development policy, will take part as well as the Ministers of Mines of Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia and Gabon. In the crucial field of mineral resources the EU and Africa have shared interests. Therefore the on-going co-operation should be intensified to promote sustainable development, and to tackle global challenges together. Amongst the issues to be discussed at the conference are: 1. Good governance, such as promoting natural resources governance including increasing revenue transparency and involving relevant stakeholders including the civil society. 2. Investment and infrastructure, such as analytical tools for mapping mining development corridors for investment promotion and opportunities for value-added through local processing of African mineral resources. 3. Geological knowledge and skills, such as facilitation of exploring mineral resources potential in Africa and rehabilitation of mining sites. More information: The full programme , Commission raw material strategy (International aspects) , and the Joint Africa EU Strategy .

Commission clears acquisition by Optrust, PGGM and Global Vía Infraestructuras of joint control over Global Vía Inversiones

The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation of the proposed acquisition by OPTrust (Canada), PGGM (The Netherland) and Global Vía Infraestructuras (Spain) of joint control of Spanish Global Vía Inversiones . OpTrust operates and manages a pension fund for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. PGGM is active in pension fund management in the Netherlands. Global Vía Infraestructuras and Global Vía Inversiones are active in the business of construction and management of infrastructure concessions. The operation was therefore examined under the simplified merger review procedure

Autre matériel diffusé :

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán - rediffusion

Déclaration du Président Barroso suite à sa rencontre avec M. Martin Schulz, Président du Parlement européen - rediffusion

Technical MEMO on the Postal Sector accompanying the state aid decisions regarding Deutsche Post / Belgian Post (BPost)/ French La Poste / Hellenic Post (ELTA)

Memo "Aides d’État: la Commission autorise deux compensations de service public en faveur de La Poste française"

Memo "State aid: Commission orders recovery of incompatible aid paid to Deutsche Post"

Memo "State aid: Commission orders recovery of overcompensation paid to Bpost"

Memo "State aid: Commission approves public service compensation for Hellenic Post (ELTA)"

Memo "Belarus: Commissioner Füle with the activists of Viasna and FIDH"

Memo "Vice President Tajani gets assurance from Italian government to stop road blockades" - rediffusion

Speech by Vice President Kallas: "Costa Concordia: Statement on EU passenger ship safety review" - rediffusion

Discours par le Vice-president Tajani: Les opportunités qu'Internet et le Marché Intérieur Digital offrent aux PME - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn: "Putting research and innovation policy at the heart of Europe's future growth" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Andor: "Confronting Europe's challenges: getting on board for the 2012 European for active ageing" - rediffusion

Speech by Commissioner Füle: "One year after the Arab spring" - rediffusion