Statement by Antonio Tajani on Olympic Airlines and Olympic Airways and State aid
End production: 17/09/2008 First transmission: 17/09/2008
At the 17 September 2008 EC press briefing, Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Transport, told journalists that the Greek government received the green light from the European Commission to proceed with the privatisation of the Greek flag-carrier Olympic Airways Services and Olympic Airlines. The European Commission found that a plan submitted by the Greek authorities whereby certain assets of Olympic Airlines and Olympic Airways Services will be privatised in bundled form does not involve any State aid provided that the undertakings given by the Greek authorities are fully complied with. This decision follows a separate but related decision taken by the Commission to partially close the formal State aid investigation procedure it opened on 19 December 2007 concerning State aid granted by Greece to Olympic Airways and Olympic Airlines. The Commission has concluded that since its last decision in September 2005 concerning the Greek flag-carrier Olympic Airways Services and Olympic Airlines have received further State aid estimated at more than 850 million Euros. This Commission decision finds that this aid is incompatible with community law.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior views of the European Commission building (2 shots)
||General views of EC press briefing (2 shots)
||Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Transport, (in ITALIAN) saying that they decided that the old company has to return the State aid to the Greek State and they hope that it will be done as quickly as possible; therefore, as far as the EC is concerned, the investigation has to come to an end; also they have completed their assessment of the plan that Greece has presented concerning this new company which, as he pointed out, will be smaller than the previous company Olympic Airlines
||Cutaway of press
||Antonio Tajani (in ITALIAN) saying that they need a clear break between the old company and the new company; since the new company cannot simply take over the old company because that would lead to the same company; this would be a legal fiction; what they need to do is to ensure that some of the old company's assets are bought at market prices; if they were to authorize the new company to buy all the assets from the old company, then they would not have resolved the problem at all because the new company would take on its shoulders all the debts of the old one and it would not be the split that they want
||Antonio Tajani (in ITALIAN) saying that the procedure they have adopted is the only one possible to try to have this money that is illegal State aid returned to the Greek State; this can be done by using the money that the old company will obtain by selling off its assets at market prices; if they had not followed that procedure, then it would have been impossible to have an old company intended to go bankrupt return a Euro or a Drachma to the Greek State; so they identified this procedure which in their view provides the best possibility of the State aid being returned by the old company to the Greek State