ANNOUNCEMENT 03 Jun 2016In June 2016, the government of Belgium announced a change in production support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
EC press release
On 3 June 2016, the European Commission announced in a press release that it had approved state aid to the Belgian postal operator bpost worth 1.3 billion EUR for the years 2016-2020.
The state aid will be used by bpost to provide public services including "maintaining a post office network throughout Belgium, delivering pension payments, providing universal cash at counter services, delivering printed material related to elections as well as distributing recognised newspapers and periodicals in Belgium".
According to the EC's assessment, the state aid does not provide an unfair advantage for bpost, as the amount would be just enough to cover the costs of the public services. However, the state aid includes payment for services other than those related to public service that could compete with the private sector, including foreign firms. It is noteworthy that the Press Release notes that the relevant State Aid rules seek to limit the distortion to market forces, not ensure no distortion exists.
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.