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EU: With only weeks left, Almunia not slowing down

 |  September 21, 2014

As European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is set to leave his post at the end of October, to be replaced by Margrethe Vestager, reports say the Commissioner is not slowing down and has confirmed that new cases may open up before he leaves office.

In one case, Almunia confirmed that the Commission is gearing up to fine more car parts suppliers for price-fixing. Regulators across the globe have cracked down on the collusion in recent years and in some cases the investigation has led to record fines.

Now, the Commission is ready to expand on its progress.

”We have already taken two decisions against car parts producers – the wire harnesses case in July 2013 and the bearings case last March – and there are more in the pipeline,” Almunia said Friday.

The commissioner added that he may open a new case into claims of anticompetitive conduct by foreign companies that take advantage of tax loopholes in the EU.

”Maybe before leaving office, I will propose to the college [of commissioners] some other investigations in this area,” he said.

In recent months complaints have risen against Apple, Starbucks and Fiat that they have been striking unfair agreements with EU member states to lower their tax bills. The agreements could constitute unfair state aid, the Commission said earlier this year.

Full content: Reuters and Reuters

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