EU Court Forces Greece to Repay Illegal Airline Aid

     (CN) – Europe’s highest court imposed a two-fold penalty on Greece for failing to recover state aid illegally granted to Olympic Airways, fining the country more than $22,000 per day and ordering it to make a lump-sum payment of nearly $2.8 million.

     The Court of Justice embraced an adviser’s recommended 2 million euro lump-sum payment for flouting the court’s 2005 ruling that the aid was illegal.
     Greece had injected 41 million euros, or about $57 million, of “restructuring” money into Olympic Airways, plus an untold amount of taxes, fees and Social Security contributions.
     The European Commission claimed Greece failed to comply with the court’s earlier decision and is obligated to recover the money it gave the airline.
     Greece should repay the money, the court determined, but it first considered a number of offsetting factors, including Greece’s capital contribution to the airline of 41 million euros, 25 million euros in rental fees and 61 million euros in taxes imposed on passengers leaving all Greek airports.
     The Court of Justice ordered Greece to pay 16 million euros for each day it fails to comply with the court order, and a 2 million euro lump-sum payment.

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