Short Reads

European Commission approves German measure to support electric charging infrastructure for green vehicles

European Commission approves German measure to support electric charging infrastructure for green vehicles

European Commission approves German measure to support electric charging infrastructure for green vehicles

01.03.2017 NL law

On 13 February 2017, the European Commission decided that the German measure to support the installation and upgrade of electric charging infrastructure for users of electric vehicles across the country is compatible with the EU State aid rules.

The measure aims to enhance the market for electric vehicles by funding user-friendly charging infrastructure. According to Germany, State aid is appropriate since it is not feasible for market operators to invest in such infrastructure on purely commercial grounds given the limited number of electric vehicles (merely 50,000 in 2016). Moreover, the Directive on the employment of alternative fuels infrastructure (the "Directive") prescribes that all Member States need to deploy an adequate charging infrastructure for electric vehicles by 2020. Therefore, the measure can be seen as an implementation of this Directive.

Germany's objective is to ensure the establishment of an area-wide charging network that meets the demands of the market and makes it possible to recharge fast and easily anywhere in Germany. For that purpose, Germany intends to launch a programme  in 2017 to provide grants for the installation of new charging stations for electric vehicles and the extension of the existing infrastructure. This programme covers not only urban and suburban areas but also rural areas. The total budget of the measure is EUR 300 million. Most of the grants will be assessed on the basis of either the lowest costs/funding or the best value for money. Aid will only be granted if the electricity required for the charging process comes from renewable energy sources or renewable electricity self-generated on site.

The Commission has not investigated whether the measure constitutes State aid, which it would normally do in such cases. Instead it has stated that even if the measure constitutes State aid it is still compatible with the internal market. The Commission has performed a balancing test to assess the compatibility, weighing the positive effects in terms of a contribution to the achievement of well-defined objectives of common interest and negative effects on trade and competition in the common market. The measure is aligned with the Directive and contributes to common interests of reducing emissions and improving air quality. In its assessment, the Commission understands that the market for electric charging infrastructure needs public intervention before it can function on its own. The Commission also accepts that a direct grant is the most appropriate measure and that the measure provides safeguards to ensure that any aid is limited to the minimum necessary to achieve the objective and that it will be operated in a fair, open and transparent way. Therefore, the Commission has concluded that the measure is compatible with the internal market.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of March 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. European Commission opens three investigations in the e-commerce sector
2. Implementation of Antitrust Damages Directive: Dutch legislation effective as of 10 February 2017
3. Belgian Competition Authority publishes Guidelines on how to identify and avoid bid-rigging

Team

Related news

05.09.2019 NL law
ECJ answers preliminary questions on jurisdiction in cartel damage case 

Short Reads - On 29 July 2019, the ECJ handed down a preliminary ruling concerning jurisdiction in follow-on damages proceedings in what is termed the trucks cartel. The court clarified that Article 7(2) Brussels I Regulation should be interpreted in such a way as to allow an indirect purchaser to sue an alleged infringer of Article 101 TFEU before the courts of the place where the market prices were distorted and where the indirect purchaser claims to have suffered damage. In practice, this often means that indirect purchasers will be able to sue for damages in their home jurisdictions.

Read more

08.08.2019 BE law
Regulating online platforms: piece of the puzzle

Articles - The new Regulation no. 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services, applicable as of 12 July 2020, is another piece of the puzzle regulating online platforms, this time focussing on the supply side of the platforms.

Read more

05.09.2019 NL law
Wanted: fast solutions for fast-growing platforms

Short Reads - Dominant digital companies be warned: calls for additional tools to deal with powerful platforms in online markets are increasing. Even though the need for speed is a given in these fast-moving markets, the question of which tool is best-suited for the job remains. Different countries are focusing on different areas; the Dutch ACM wants to pre-emptively strike down potential anti-competitive conduct with ex ante measures, while the UK CMA aims for greater regulation of digital markets and a quick fix through interim orders.

Read more

01.08.2019 NL law
General court dismisses all five appeals in the optical disk drives cartel

Short Reads - The General Court recently upheld a Commission decision finding that suppliers of optical disk drives colluded in bids for sales to Dell and HP by engaging in a network of parallel bilateral contacts over a multi-year period. The General Court rejected applicants' arguments regarding the Commission's fining methodology, including that the Commission ought to have provided reasons for not departing from the general methodology set out in its 2006 Guidelines.

Read more

05.09.2019 NL law
No fine means no reason to appeal? Think again!

Short Reads - Whistleblowers who have had their fine reduced to zero may still have an interest in challenging an antitrust decision. The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) held two de facto managers personally liable for a cartel infringement but, instead of imposing a EUR 170,000 fine, granted one of them immunity from fines in return for blowing the whistle. The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal found that, despite this fortuitous outcome, the whistleblower still had an interest in appealing the ACM's decision.

Read more

01.08.2019 NL law
Brand owners beware: Commission tough on cross-border sales restrictions

Short Reads - The European Commission recently imposed a EUR 6.2 million fine on Hello Kitty owner Sanrio for preventing its licensees from selling licensed merchandising products across the entire EEA. Sanrio is the second licensor (after Nike) to be fined for imposing territorial sales restrictions on its non-exclusive licensees for licensed merchandise. A third investigation into allegedly similar practices by Universal Studios is ongoing. The case confirms the Commission's determination to tackle these practices, regardless of type or form.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring