Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 16th March 2005
The European Commission has authorised, under the EC Treaty’s rules on state aid, environmental aid to a district heating project in Rome. However, the Commission decided that the aid could not be granted until the beneficiary, part of the ACEA group, has reimbursed a previous aid that the Commission had declared illegal and incompatible in 2002 (see IP/02/817). The Commission considered that the cumulation of the aid from which ACEA benefited in 2002 and the new notified aid could have particularly distortive effects.
“With this decision, “said Commissioner Kroes, “the Commission is strengthening the enforcement of state aid rules, preventing further aid going to firms that have previously received illegal support from a Member State and not paid it back yet”.
The approved environmental aid of €3.8 million granted by the Regione Lazio concerns district heating in Torrino Mezzocammino, a neighbourhood of Rome. The previous non-recovered aid involves much higher amounts, as confirmed by ACEA’s financial reporting.
The beneficiary of the aid approved subject to certain conditions is AceaElectrabel Produzione (AEP), a firm jointly controlled by ACEA and Electrabel. ACEA is an energy company controlled by the Municipality of Rome. It had benefited, together with other companies controlled by municipalities in Italy, from an aid that the Commission declared illegal and incompatible in 2002. Two years later, Italy has yet to recover that aid, and the Commission recently decided to take Italy to Court for Italy’s failure to act on this case (IP/05/76).