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Parliamentary questions
23 December 2004
Joint answer given by Ms Hübner on behalf of the Commission
Written questions : E-2631/04 , E-2633/04

The Commission is aware of Article 12.2.6 of the Greek Law 2338/1995, and of the articles which appeared in the press, as well as of the fact that the Greek State holds the majority of shares of the Athens International Airport S.A.

As regards the legality of designating Athens International Airport S.A. (AIA S.A.) as implementing body, it must be signalled that the provisions of Commission decision(1) concerning the grant of assistance from the Cohesion Fund to the project ‘New Athens International Airport at Spata’, are in conformity with Council Regulation (EC) No 1164/94 of 16 May 1994, establishing a Cohesion Fund(2). The Cohesion Fund Regulation does not limit the legal status of the designated implementing body to public sector bodies.

AIA S.A. and not Hochtief AG is the body responsible for the implementation of the project. Hochtief AG is a shareholder of AIA S.A. together with ABB Calor Emag Schaltanlagen AG, Flughafen Athen-Spata Projektgesellschaft (FASP) and the Greek State. The Cohesion Fund Regulation does not include any rules which would prohibit this and the Commission considers that its 1996 funding decision did not infringe the article of the applicable Cohesion Fund Regulation mentioned in the written question.

Financial assistance was granted by the Cohesion Fund to the final beneficiary (AIA S.A.) in conformity with the abovementioned decision. As the project was implemented by a concession contract, there is no legal obligation for the Commission to know the names of the sub-contractors and the payments made by the concessionaire to these companies. Moreover, the disclosure of any such list would require the agreement of the companies concerned.

As regards the cost of construction of the international airport of Athens, the Honourable Member is kindly invited to refer to the reply given to his previous Written Question E‑2255/04.

The issue of the alleged tax fraud does not fall under the responsibility of the Commission but of the national authorities. In this context, the Unit within the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which is in charge of VAT questions has contacted the competent authorities in Greece and Germany.

The Commission will inform the Parliament of the outcome of the audit carried out in relation to this project, once the contradictory procedure between the Commission and the Greek authorities will be completed. In this context, a hearing between the Commission and the Greek authorities was held on 29 November 2004.

(1)C(1996) 1356.
(2)OJ L 130, 25.5.1994.

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