ANNOUNCEMENT 15 Oct 2013In October 2013, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Quote Maurizio Lupi:
Decision on the 2008 aid:
Decision on the 2001 aid:
On 15 October 2013, the shareholders of the Italian airline Alitalia approved a EUR 300 million recapitalisation. Three shareholders already confirmed to provide a capital injection of together EUR 175 million.
The biggest shareholder of Alitalia, Air-France-KLM, refused to participate in the capital increase.
According to Maurizio Lupi, Transport Minister of Italy, the Italian state is not involved in the recapitalisation and has only 'facilitated the meeting of private parties' Nevertheless, EUR 75 million of the recapitalisation is provided by 'Poste Italiane', a state-owned postal services group. The state is thus stepping in indirectly. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this amount has to be increased to reach the EUR 300 million target.
Italy has not yet notified the European commission. Nevertheless, Antoine Colombani, EU Commission spokesman for competition policy confirms that "we expect Italian authorities to notify the envisaged measure to the European Commission". At this time the official assessment by the European Commission has not been made public (indeed, it may not have been completed.)
The Italian state has previously supported Alitalia. On 22 April 2008, the Italian authorities granted a loan of EUR 300 million. On 20 July 2004, the EC approved a EUR 400 million loan and on 18 July 2001 the Commission approve a ITL 2750 billion (around EUR 140 million) capital injection.
In the case of the 2008 support, the EC concluded that: "the measure in question affects trade between Member States, as it concerns a company whose transport activity, by its very nature, directly concerns trade and covers several Member States. It also distorts or threatens to distort competition within the common market, as it is granted to only one company which is in competition with other Community airlines on its European network." (Letter from the EC to Italy, Brussels 12 November 2008).
Even though the ownership conditions have changed, it is very likely that the EC will follow the same argumentation. 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.