Extracts from the press briefing by Mark English, coordination and planning of the spokespersons, on the Alitalia case
At the 11 June 2008 EC press briefing, Mark English, spokesperson responsible of the spokespersons' coordination and planning, said that the European Commission had decided to launch an in-depth investigation to ascertain whether the 300 million euro loan granted to Alitalia by the Italian State was compatible with the Community rules on State aid.
At that stage, the European Commission believed that the loan - which the Italian company had the option of incorporating into its equity capital - could constitute aid that is incompatible with the common market and could therefore give the company an unjustified advantage over its competitors.
The Commission will assess whether a private investor would have acted in the same way as the Italian government.
Italy had been hoping the Commission would permit the loan since it was part of a privatisation process and designed to keep Alitalia flying until a new buyer could be found, after Air France-KLM pulled out of a deal in April.
The procedure of investigation opened prejudges nothing at all and therefore the entire circumstances will be looked at, the spokesperson told journalists. SHOTLIST