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Brussels, 4 April 2006

Greece must comply with Court judgement on illegal subsidies granted before 2002 to Olympic

The Commission today sent a reasoned opinion to the Greek authorities for failure to comply with the European Court of Justice judgement on the recovery of €161 million of state aid for Olympic Airways between 1998 and 2002. If the Greek response proves unsatisfactory, the Commission will refer the case to the Court of Justice and request financial penalties.

In December 2002 the Commission found that Greece had granted illegal restructuring aid to Olympic Airways between 1998 and 2002. On 12 May 2005 the EU Court of Justice confirmed that the Greek authorities had failed to recover €161 million of illegal aid from the airline. This concerns € 41 million of illegal restructuring aid and another €120 million of operational aid, i.e. non-payment of various sums the company owes to the Greek state such as VAT on fuel and airport charges.

It is useful to recall that the Commission took a positive decision in 1994 to authorise a first restructuring plan with two additional positive decisions allowing for amendments to that plan in 1998 and 2000. The implementation of that plan however did not respect the commitments taken by the Greek authorities, which led to the 2002 decision.

The Greek authorities now have 2 months to react to today’s decision.

More information :

IP/02/1853 (December 2002)

Court of Justice press release (May 2005):

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