Italy: Rescue aid to Tirrenia di Navigazione S.p.A.
On 28 September 2010, the Italian authorities notified their intention to grant rescue aid to Tirrenia di Navigazione S.p.A. in amministrazione straordinaria.
Tirrenia is a company that provides passenger and freight maritime transport services. The company operates a series of cabotage routes connecting mainland Italy with Sicily, Sardinia and the Tremiti islands and an international link with Albania (Bari-Durazzo).
The company is currently facing severe difficulties which have led to the admission of Tirrenia into the collective insolvency procedure foreseen under Italian law for large companies, "ammministrazione straordinaria"4 on 5 August 2010, followed by its declaration of insolvency by the competent Court on 12 August 2010.
Italy intends to grant a State guarantee on credit lines provided by private banks to Tirrenia, for an amount of EUR 95 million.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107 (1) TFEU and gave the following assessment:
“Firstly, the measure at stake consists of a guarantee which is selective as it is deemed to favour Tirrenia and Siremar.
Secondly, the measure will be financed by the general budget of Italy, and thus undoubtedly by a Member State and through State resources.
Thirdly, the guarantee will provide the beneficiaries with access to credit lines that, given that the companies are currently subject to insolvency procedures, the beneficiaries would not have been able to obtain at comparable conditions. Under those circumstances, the guarantee confers an economic advantage to the beneficiaries, who are able to improve their overall financial situation.
Finally, when aid granted by a Member State strengthens the position of an undertaking compared to other undertakings competing in intra-Union trade, the latter must be regarded as affected by that aid. It is sufficient that the recipient of the aid competes with other undertakings on markets open to competition. In the present case, the beneficiaries operate in competition with other undertakings providing maritime transport services in the EU, in particular since the entry into force of the Council Regulation (EEC) No 4055/86 and Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92, liberalising the market of the international maritime transport and maritime cabotage respectively. Therefore, the measure under scrutiny is liable to affect EU trade and distort competition in the internal market.” (par. 36-39 of the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 16.11.2010 C (2010) 8150)
The Commission has come to the conclusion that the aid is compatible with the internal market pursuant to Article 107(3)(c) TFEU and has accordingly decided not to raise objections to the notified measure.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
Any Evidence-Based Deliberation:
|Is there anything in the public record to suggest that evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed measure was considered during official deliberations?|
|Is there any evidence that alternatives to the proposed measure were considered?|
|Is there anything in the public record that suggests that empirical evidence informed the comparison across the alternatives available to government?|
|Was such evidence identified?|
|Is such evidence publicly available?|
|Did the official decision-maker in question provide an explanation as to why a chosen measure was favoured over alternatives?|
|Is there any evidence to suggest that potentially affected trading partners were consulted before the measures were taken?|
|Is there any evidence that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that implementation of the initiative is transparent and non-discriminatory?|
|Did the government state its intention to review the measure within one year of implementation?|
Date of inception: 1 Nov 2010
GTA Evaluation: Red
the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 16.11.2010 C (2010) 8150. Available from . < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=... >