He General Court of the European Union challenged the approval by the European Commission of a package of Italian funds, for a value of 130 million euros (mde), to help three Italian airlines during the pandemic.
Neos, Blue Panorama y Air Dolomiti, this last Italian subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, are the affected companies.
The court considered that the European Commission, in charge of approving these aids“did not give reasons for its conclusion, according to which the contested measure was not contrary to other provisions of Union law other than those relating to State aid”.
In October 2020, the Italian government notified Brussels of some available aid to companies with an Italian license, which guaranteed all their employees a remuneration “equal to or higher” than the agreement for the aviation sector.
But the European court considers that the European Commission did not carry out the pertinent investigations to ensure that the necessary conditions were met, therefore it annulled the decision.
This is not the first time that European justice has spoken out against aid granted during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 10 he made a similar ruling and announced the annulment of the approval by the European Commission of a financial aid package of 6,000 million euros for the national airline german Lufthansa.
Both aid packages were granted to compensate airlines for the exceptional loss of revenue caused by the pandemic, and both were challenged by Ryanair, a low-cost airline, before the Court, which detected errors in the evaluation.
The Commission, which could appeal the decision to the EU Court of Justice, says it will review the ruling before taking any further steps.
To prevent State aid from harming free competition and the single market, the European Commission is in charge of approving them, according to information from Euronews and Hosteltur.
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