European Court Annuls Ruling on Danish TV Aid

     LUXEMBOURG (CN) – The Court of First Instance annulled the European Commission’s decision to allow Denmark to continue granting aid to TV2, a Danish television network.




     A rival network, SBS, complained in 2000 that the Danish government was helping TV2 through license fees and advertising revenue.
     After an investigation in 2004, the Commission decided that the aid was compatible with the common market with the exception of the amount of 84 million euros. The Commission ordered Denmark to recover that amount, with interest, from TV2.
     The court found that the Commission did not fulfill its obligation to examine why the government helped the network.
     It also determined that, while license fees constitute state revenue, the Commission failed to explain why ad revenues should be classified as state resources.
     “The Commission’s assertion that the Danish authorities did not regularly check the level of the accumulated reserves,” the court wrote, “is an unsubstantiated claim which was expressly disputed by Denmark during the formal investigation procedure.”
     Also, the court refused a request from SBS to annul the part of the decision that says most of the government aid was compatible with the market. The network’s public service obligations rendered the aid acceptable.

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