Press conference by Joaquín Almunia on tax benefits granted by Spain to certain EIG and their investors
On 17 July 2013, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, held a press conference on the Commission's call for recovery of tax benefits granted by Spain to certain Economic Interest Groupings (EIG) and their investors.After an in-depth investigation, the European Commission concluded that a Spanish scheme for the purchase of ships involving leasing and financing through tax relief is partly incompatible with EU rules on State aid. This scheme, which was set up in 2002, conferred a selective advantage on economic interest groupings and their investors over their competitors. The Commission was not notified of the scheme for the purpose of prior authorisation as required. Under European rules, the beneficiaries must now repay the aid to the Spanish State. In accordance with the principle of legal certainty, the Commission will not require the repayment of aid granted between the start of the scheme in 2002 and April 2007, when the Commission publicly declared a similar French scheme incompatible.