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Parliamentary questions
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12 March 2019
E-006418/2018(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006418/2018

The Commission stated in its decision to open a formal investigation into the 2017 loan provided to Alitalia(1) that, as there is no economic continuity between Alitalia Linee Aeree SpA, which received restructuring aid in 2008, and Alitalia as it is presently constituted, any past aid that was granted to the former should not be taken into account when assessing the applicability of the ‘one time, last time principle’.

This conclusion follows from the Commission’s 2008 decision(2) establishing the absence of economic continuity between the then ‘old’ and ‘new’ Alitalia in 2008, a decision that the Union Courts upheld(3).

The Commission has therefore reached the preliminary conclusion that, should the loan in question constitute aid, the ‘one time, last time’ principle set out in the Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines would be respected. More generally, the Commission’s investigation is ongoing and its outcome cannot be prejudged at this stage.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is neutral when it comes to public versus private ownership. When applying the indices used to assess economic discontinuity, as set out in the Commission’s replies to the Honourable Member’s written questions E-002337/2018 and P-005965/2018, the Commission cannot apply those indices in a stricter fashion in respect of public undertakings as compared to private ones.

(1)Recital 96 to the letter dated 23 April 2018 addressed to Italy: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_48171
(2)Decision C(2008) 6745 final, of 12 November 2008, concerning state aid N 510/2008 — Italy — Sale of assets of the airline Alitalia.
(3)Judgment of 28 March 2012, Ryanair v Commission, T-123/09, EU:T:2012:164, upheld on appeal by judgment of 13 June 2013, Ryanair v Commission, C-287/12 P, EU:C:2013:395.

Last updated: 12 March 2019Legal notice