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Alitalia: Italian Minister Patuanelli meets Margrethe Vestager (EU) in Brussels

"The goal is to arrive at the end of May with a solution"

When we talk about the Alitalia carrier, we always have the feeling of being on a tightrope, between procrastinations, injections of economic liquidity that seem never enough, in a race against time that recalls an emergency room that desperately tries to save lives in a context of ill health. In the middle the fate of thousands of workers and that of a company that contributes significantly to the country's GDP. And therefore it is right to intervene and we must do it quickly. Yesterday, the Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli went in Brussels where he met the Vice-President of the EU Commission Margrethe Vestager and he declared: "An opportunity was missed in 2008 when we wanted to show the 'Italianness' of the carrier, when the solution was at hand, namely the sale to Air France, and probably we would not be here today to talk about it. It' is not the intention of the government to think of an additional bridge loan. We believe that there will be no need: the file is in the hands of a capable commissioner, who is managing the new tender which will lead to a definitive solution. We will see what will happen with the announcement. I do not exclude or anticipate a negative opinion by the Commission on loans granted to the airline".

Speaking of a possible nationalization, for Patuanelli "at the moment there is the announcement and the answer that the market will give I believe it will be satisfactory". With regard to the amount paid by taxpayers to save the company (approximately 7.4 billion Euros in the forty years before 2014, before the two bridging loans of 900 million plus another 400), for the head of the ministry "the account does not keep within the part of taxation linked to salaries and many other things, such as the 11,000 employees who work there. I believe that an incorrect corporate management policy has been made on Alitalia. With the Vice-President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager we made updates on the different files and on Alitalia we saw many points of contact with respect to what we are doing in Italy with the vision of the Dg Comp. We are evaluating step by step, but I believe that there are possibilities for resolution, says the person responsible for competition, and the commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton. The dossier of the Competition Commission of the European Commission on the loans granted is an advanced stage, such as the announcement that Commissioner Leogrande is preparing on Alitalia, which will soon be published and which will be fairly fast for the submission of offers. The regulatory objective is to arrive at the end of May with a solution for the airline".

RC3 - 1227902

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency