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Alitalia: Commissioner Vestager: whoever is, give back EUR 900m

The Commissioner for Competition answers to the question on the loan

Parliamentary questions 27 June 2019  P-001841/2019 (ASW)

"Answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the European Commission

Question reference: P-001841/2019

The Commission is continuing its investigation into the loan totalling EUR 900 million provided by Italy to Alitalia in 2017. Following Italy’s notification of rescue aid, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation on 23 April 2018 due to its serious doubts about the market conform nature of both the initial EUR 600 million loan and the EUR 300 million extension.

The Commission is also investigating whether those measures, if found to constitute aid, could be deemed compatible with the internal market under the Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines.

The Commission is aware of the distortive effect on competition aid can have, especially aid that Member States give to undertakings in difficulty. This however presupposes that the intervention by the State constitutes aid, which is what the Commission is seeking to establish through its investigation.

Should the aid be deemed incompatible, the Commission would order the Member State concerned to restore the situation that existed on the market prior to the granting of the aid through the recovery of such aid in line with EU rules.

Given the business sensitive nature of such information, the Commission is not in a position to disclose information about the use of the loan by Alitalia. The Extraordinary Commissioners of Alitalia publish information, including financial information, on a dedicated website.

Last updated: 27 June 2019".

EN E-002138/2019 Answer given by European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager on behalf of the European Commission (4/7/2019) 

"The Commission is continuing its investigation into the loan totalling EUR 900 million provided by Italy to Alitalia in 2017. Following Italy’s notification of rescue aid, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation on 23 April 2018 due to its serious doubts about the market conform nature of both the initial EUR 600 million loan and the EUR 300 million extension. The Commission is also investigating whether those measures, if found to constitute aid, could be deemed compatible with the internal market under the Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines (the 'Guidelines'). 

As regards the behaviour of any possible new airline, which may emerge from the ongoing sales process of Alitalia, this would mainly depend on such airline’s new owner and management. In general terms, in the context of rescue and restructuring aid, if a Member State decides to grant public support and such measures are deemed compatible with EU State aid rules, the Member State has to notify a restructuring plan pursuant to the conditions laid down in the Guidelines. Only in such a context would the Commission, pursuant to point 49 of the Guidelines, examine whether an aid beneficiary's difficulties could have been avoided through appropriate and timely management action and require, if necessary, appropriate changes to its business model or corporate governance system to prevent those difficulties arising again".

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