France ordered to recover illegal state aid from FT

19 Oct 2007

The European Court of Justice yesterday ordered the French government to recover up to EUR1.1 billion (USD1.56 billion) in illegal state aid it provided to the country’s incumbent fixed line operator France Telecom (FT). The Court has ruled against the French authorities and sided with the European Commission which now wants the money repaid within months following the three-year legal battle. The Associated Press quotes EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd as saying: ‘The Commission will be contacting French authorities to implement the decision to recover the amount, at least EUR798 million plus interest. It will have to happen as soon as possible.’ Mr Todd went on to say that the amount the EU looks to recover could be as high as EUR1.14 billion, plus interest. When the EC first ordered FT to repay the illegal tax breaks in 2004, the commission estimated that the total it owed could be as much as EUR1.7 billion.

France, Orange Group