Greece is brought to justice
The European Commission has referred Greece to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with two distinct decisions that ordered the country to recover ‘incompatible state aid’ from three land-based casinos.
The other decision concerns Aluminium of Greece SA with the European body ruling that Greece has still not recovered the aid after two years.
“Member states have numerous possibilities to support business in line with European Union state aid rules,” said Joaquin Almunia, vice-president of the Commission in charge of competition policy.
“However, when subsidies procure distortive advantages to selected companies without furthering any common interest goal they must be recovered swiftly. This is necessary to restore a level playing field and to preserve the effectiveness of the rules themselves.”
The European Commission received a complaint in 2009 alleging that private casinos in Greece were being asked to charge patrons an admission tax of €12 ($15.76) while the nation’s state-owned venues of Mont Parnes and Corfu along with the private facility at Thessaloniki were only asking €4.80 ($6.30).
“The Commission considered that this different fiscal treatment provides a selective advantage to certain casinos and causes the state to forgo revenues that it would otherwise have collected,” read a statement from the European Commission.
“In May of 2011, the Commission therefore ordered Greece to recover the aid granted through this advantage since 1999 and to end the incompatible scheme.”