Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager on behalf of the European Commission
In its judgment of 27 June 2017 in Case C-74/16, the Court of Justice of the European Union restated that the concept of ‘undertaking’ covers any entity engaged in an economic activity, regardless of its legal status and the way in which it is financed. Insofar as an activity may be classified as ‘economic’, the fact that it is carried on by a religious community does not preclude the application of state aid rules.
The Court also recalled that entities performing both economic and non-economic activities and receiving State support for their non-economic activities need to have separate accounts in order to exclude risks of cross-subsidisation.
As concerns the preliminary report of the Spanish Court of Auditors mentioned by the Honourable Members, the Commission has not had access to this report and therefore cannot take any position on it at this stage. Furthermore, it would seem that the Spanish Court of Auditors has not reached its final conclusions yet.
In relation to the third question, there is currently no ongoing investigation by the Commission concerning state aid potentially granted to entities belonging to the Spanish Catholic Church.