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Kosakowo - The European Commission's decision is invalid

< previous | next > 23.11.2017

Kosakowo - The European Commission's decision is invalid
  • The Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport does not have to return PLN 92 million of state aid.
  • The European Court of Justice annulled the European Commission’s decision.
  • Since the beginning, Polish government supported the Airport in the proceedings before the EC.

The case dates back to 2007, when the city of Gdynia and the municipality of Kosakowo established the Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport Company. Its purpose was to convert former military airfield located in this municipality into a civil airport that would serve low-cost airlines and charter flights. The project was financed by the municipality of Kosakowo and the city of Gdynia.

In 2014, the European Commission issued a negative decision declaring the financing granted to the airport as the state aid incompatible with the internal market. It ordered the Polish authorities to recover PLN 92 million plus accrued interest from the airport.

The company and the bodies which granted the aid referred this decision to the European Court of Justice. The Polish authorities joined one of the proceedings as an intervener, applying for the annulment of the decision because it was issued in breach of the procedural rules.

On 17 November 2017, the European Court of Justice issued a judgement which revoked the European Commission’s decision.

TIMELINE:

11 February 2014 - negative decision by the EC - the financing granted to Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport Ltd. was declared entirely as the state aid incompatible with the internal market and subject to recovery.

The city of Gdynia, the municipality of Kosakowo, and the Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport challenged this decision (cases: T-215/14, T-217/14). They claimed, inter alia, the expenses related to ensuring safety and security at the airport, i.e. activities falling within the remit of public policy, were wrongly classified by the Commission as the state aid.

26 February 2015 - the EC issued a new decision no. 2015/1586 which simultaneously withdrawn the decision of 2014 but maintained the order to recover granted aid.

15 May 2015 - municipality of Gdynia and the Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport Company brought an action against this decision to the ECJ (case T-263-15), because it was issued in breach of the procedural rules.

16 September 2015 - following the proposal submitted by the President of the UOKiK, draft assumptions for the intervention of the Polish government were presented at the European Affairs Committee. Their intention was to support the applicants’ standpoint as regards the breach of the procedural rules by the EC while adopting the decision.

1 December 2015 - the Republic of Poland was admitted to participate in the proceedings as an intervener.

27 April 2017 - the hearing was held.

17 November 2017 - the ECJ issued a judgement in favour of the Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport Company. Poland does not have to recover PLN 92 million of state aid.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: 695 902 088
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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