Brussels, 15 May 2013
State aid: Commission authorises public co-financing of Copenhagen multiarena in Denmark
The European Commission has concluded that the proposed public co-financing of a new multiarena in Copenhagen, Denmark was in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission found that the public funding was both proportionate to the objective pursued and limited to the minimum necessary to attain that objective.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia observed: "It is important to ensure citizens' access to sport and cultural facilities. At the same time, public authorities must spend taxpayers' money wisely and avoid to create distortions of competition. Today's decision ensures that the public funding for Copenhagen multiarena is justified and proportionate."
In 2011, Denmark notified plans to support the construction of a new multiarena in Copenhagen. The main parties are the City of Copenhagen and Realdania (a private foundation). The total budget of the project is DKK 1,100 million (around € 148 million. The Commission opened an investigation to verify whether public funding was needed to offer such facilities (see IP/12/261).
During the investigation, Denmark demonstrated, in particular that there was a need for additional capacity and that the new multiarena will provide different facilities and stage a range of new events which currently cannot take place in Copenhagen. Therefore, although there are existing arenas in the area, the new arena will be a complement rather than a substitute to those. Moreover, the public co-financing is limited to what is strictly necessary to realise the project. Denmark withdrew from the project one grant for operating the arena in order to bring it in line with the EU state aid rules. Finally, the use of the arena is open to all on non-discriminatory terms without favouring any specific companies.
The Commission therefore concluded that the aid was in line with Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that allows aid for the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions.
In March 2012, the Commission had opened two in-depth investigations into public funding for multi-function arenas, one in Denmark and one in Sweden. The Commission authorised the public financing for the Swedish arena in April 2013 (see IP/13/394). The Danish investigation has been closed with today's decision. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33 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.