Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission
Greece has not notified the alleged tax exemption measure. The Commission does not have sufficient information to assess whether it constitutes state aid. The Commission will ask Greece to provide clarifications on the issue.
The Commission is not aware of the alleged valuation the Greek press refers to. To determine whether the sale of land by public authorities constitutes state aid, the market economy operator test must be applied. It follows from the Commission Communication on state aid elements in sales of land and buildings by public authorities(1) that state aid can be excluded if the land is either sold through an unconditional open and transparent bidding procedure or at a price which is in line with an independent expert's valuation. On the basis of publicly available information, it appears that Lamda Development SA was selected after an open invitation to submit an expression of interest in the acquisition of the share capital of Hellinikon SA.
According to EU case law, a ‘sale transaction’ could trigger the application of EU public procurement rules if it could qualify as a ‘land development project’ between a public authority and a developer,and if it met several criteria (see C-451/08). A case-by-case assessment would be required, based on the totality and overall nature of the transaction.
Available information does not point to the existence of concerns relating to the application of EU public procurement rules to the transaction resulting in the sale of Hellinikon SA.