Transport minister says Italy will answer EU on Alitalia
'Don't need to justify ourselves,' says Lupi18 October, 17:11
"We are working on answering the European Union, though we don't have to justify ourselves," said Lupo. "We will present them with all the requested documentation in order to permit them to verify that it is not State aid but an important industrial project". The EC earlier this week expressed concern it had not been given advance notice of the measures that were recently approved for the troubled airline by its largest shareholders in a bid to keep it aloft, in order to confirm these were compatible with EU law.
A spokesman for Competition Commissioner Joaquìn Almunia has said that it could not rule out the possibility that State aid was involved in the Alitalia bailout package, because of the involvement of the Italian post office. "All states are obliged to notify the Commission when it comes to State aid," the spokesman said earlier this week.
Earlier this week shareholders unanimously approved an emergency 300-million-euro capital increase to save the airline from bankruptcy. The state-owned post office, Poste Italiane, will inject up to 75 million euros in exchange for any unsubscribed shares in the capital increase. The announcement triggered immediate outrage from the parent company of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, the International Airlines Group, which quickly called on the Commission to intervene, saying the package amounted to State aid and broke EU law because of the post office.