The European Commission decided today to refer Bulgaria, Finland and Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU for not notifying or partially notifying its measures transposing EU rules establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (Directive 2014/89/EU). Member States had to transpose the Directive into national law by 18 September 2016.
The key decisions taken by the Commission are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 130 cases in which the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.
The Commission has today decided to fine Scania more than €880 million for its participation in a trucks cartel. Today’s decision marks the end of our investigation into a cartel that had lasted 14 years. It involved six leading truck producers: besides Scania, also Daimler, DAF, Iveco, MAN and Volvo/Renault. Together, these companies produce more than 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe. In other words, the large majority of trucks that European consumers and companies rely on for the transport of goods across the internal market.
The European Commission has found that Scania broke EU antitrust rules. It colluded for 14 years with five other truck manufacturers on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a fine of €880 523 000 on Scania.
The European Commission has asked Spain to recover €5.8 million of illegal State aid granted to Iberpotash S.A. (renamed ICL Iberia Súria & Sallent in 2014), a company which operates various mines of potash in Catalonia. The Commission’s in-depth investigation found that Iberpotash benefitted from two illegal support measures: unduly low financial guarantees for the restoration of its mining sites in Súria and Balsareny/Sallent, and full public funding of a €7.9 million investment to cover a waste heap in Vilafruns. As regards the first measure, mining companies must provide guarantees to public authorities that can be drawn on to restore the environmental conditions of the site they operate. This ensures that these costs are not shifted on to the State, if the mining company fails to meet its environmental protection obligations. In the case of the guarantees provided by Iberpotash for Súria in 2006 and Balsareny/Sallent in 2008, Spanish national courts have found that restoration costs for the sites had been set at an unjustifiably low level. Indeed, in 2016 the regional environmental authorities estimated the costs and set the guarantees at a significantly higher level. As regards the second measure, regional authorities financed the entire investment cost to reduce the negative environmental impact of the waste heap in Vilafruns in 2008 and 2009. EU rules do allow State aid to cover part of the investment costs incurred in improving environmental conditions beyond mandatory levels, but still require Iberpotash to bear 50% of such costs. As a result of both support measures, Iberpotash did not have to bear the costs of environmental protection that competing mining companies have to bear in the Union, thus gaining an undue competitive advantage. On this basis,the Commission concluded that Iberpotash must pay guarantee fees reflecting the true remediation costs of its sites until 2016 and also return the excess investment costs that were entirely borne by the public authorities.In line with its standard practice, the Commission is asking Spain to recover from Iberpotash these amounts, totalling €5.8 million. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.35818.(For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
The key decisions taken by the Commission are presented below and grouped by policy area. The Commission is also closing 122 cases in which the issues with the Member States concerned have been solved without the Commission needing to pursue the procedure further.
In addition, today, the Commission decided to send a number of letters of formal notices.