Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

European Commission suspicious of state support for Greek Post Office

Written by Eric Apim on Thursday, March 10th 2022 à 16:25 | Read 420 times

The Greek postal operator has received at least €249 million from the State (photo: DR)
The Greek postal operator has received at least €249 million from the State (photo: DR)
GREECE. On Thursday 10 March 2022, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into various support measures granted by the Greek state to the postal operator Hellenic Post (ELTA). This decision comes after a complaint was lodged against these support measures, which were deemed incompatible with the rules of competition in the European internal market.

First, ELTA would have received, in December 2020, €149 million in additional compensation for the universal service obligation for the period 2013-2018. The European Commission questions "whether ELTA was legally entitled to receive additional compensation", as the company had already received annual compensation of €15m for the same period.

Then, in the same month, ELTA would have benefited from a €100 million injection by the State into its equity capital. The European institution wants to verify whether "it was carried out under market conditions or whether it gave the company an unfair advantage over its competitors".

VAT exemption since 2000

Finally, the third measure that intrigues the European Commission is that the Greek VAT code has granted ELTA an exemption from value added tax (VAT) since 2000. The investigation will have to determine whether this support, which applies to all postal services provided by the operator, can be considered as aid. More specifically, "if for the period before August 2010 the measure could constitute existing aid, for the period after August 2010 it would constitute new aid. The Commission has doubts about the compatibility of such new aid with the common market".

In a press release, the Commission states that "the opening of an in-depth investigation gives Greece, the complainant and other interested third parties the opportunity to comment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation."


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