Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission
On 23 February 2011, the Commission adopted a decision ordering the recovery of EUR 15.34 million in illegal aid granted to Ellinikos Xrysos SA in the form of:
the difference between the market value of the Cassandra Mines' assets and the price at which Ellinikos Xrysos SA bought them;
the taxes which Ellinikos Xrysos SA should have paid to buy the assets (i.e. mines and land) but did not pay.
Ellinikos Xrysos challenged the Commission's decision before the General Court of the European Union(1), but this action has no suspensive effect and the Greek authorities had to recover the aid within the deadline set in the Commission decision.
In the absence of recovery, the Commission filed an action against Greece on 25 May 2012(2) with the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with the Commission decision. This legal action is currently pending.
To date, the Greek authorities have not reported whether the aid has been recovered.
Regarding national law 4042/2012, the Commission is not aware if a Ministerial Decision implementing this law has been adopted and what would be the level of fees that it would set. The issue of fees' collection for mines in the Greek legislation and its application to Ellinikos Xrysos is separate from the recovery of aid linked with the sale of the Cassandra Mines to Ellinikos Chrysos which the Commission is currently trying to enforce.