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Brussels, 23 March 2011

State aid: Commission approves Danish Government financing for new public radio channel FM4

The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, plans by Denmark to establish a new public service radio, channel FM4. The Commission found the project to be in line with EU state aid rules because the providers' public service remit is clearly defined, the selection process is conducted through an open tender procedure and there are sufficient safeguards to avoid overcompensation.

Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the Commission in charge of competition policy noted: “The measure will promote competition on the Danish market for public service radios.

The Danish Government wants to increase competition on the Danish radio market for public service programming by supporting the creation of a new public service radio channel. The Danish public service radio market is currently dominated by the public broadcaster DR, with an audience share of almost 80%.

The Commission assessed the project under its Communication on the application of the state aid rules to public service broadcasting (see IP/09/1072). Consequently, the Commission ascertained that the public service remit of the future broadcaster was well defined and that adequate mechanisms were in place to ensure that the provider of the service would not receive overcompensation. Moreover, the operator of the new programme channel will be appointed by an open tender. The contract will run for eight years, from November 2011 to October 2019. The annual budget, which will be assured by the Government, is up to DKK 100 million (around € 13.4 million). The contract award criteria will be the quality of the proposed business plan, programme profile and the amount of funding requested. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is compatible with the internal market in accordance with Article 106 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE).

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.32019 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

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