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Home arrow In Brief arrow Tajani plays cards-up on 3 Airlines' privatisation and slots' guarantees for 2010+

Tajani plays cards-up on 3 Airlines' privatisation and slots' guarantees for 2010+

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
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Tajani clears Alitalia and Olympic privatisation, eyes Austrian airlines, and guarantees slots for 2010+
    


    EU cleared out the privatisation of AlItalia and Olympic airlines, in Italy and Greece respectively, and started contacts about Austrian Airlines, but "does not know yet who might come next", said to "EuroFora" EU Commission's vice President for Transports, Antonio Tajani.

    Speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg, Tajani stressed that, while monitoring the respect of EU Law on State aides and Competition, EU also wanted to help Airline Companies' sustainability and "defend Workers" at this period of Economic Crisis.

    That's why, at the same time, EU Commission decided to ask to firmly keep the Airport and flight Slots guaranteed to each Airline company for 2010, at their 2009 level, regardless if they use them all, or not.

    The measure is intended to help Airline Companies to adapt to the Crisis, fex. by temporarily limiting their activities, without losing their slots for next year. Normally we expect that the crisis would end in 2010. But if it continues towards 2011 we shall adapt and probably prolonge further the measure, he ensured.

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    Meanwhile, AlItalia's sale for 1,052 million € to CAI was assessed by EU Experts as corresponding to "a fair market value", even if "in the lower margin". But AirFrance/KLM bought a 25% share from CAI, for 323 million €, some 10% Higher than expected, probably because of market changes which occured in the meantime, (fex. synergies and less social tensions, Lufthansa competition, etc). In conclusion, the Italian Government took Legal measures to recover a previous 300 million € loan of State aid, earlier declared illegal by the EU, and this allowed  EU Commission to give now its green light.   

 After an initial bid for Olympic on September 2008, when the Global Economic Crisis started, did not yield offers at its real value, the Greek Government decided to make a direct sale, in order to get a higher price in a faster way, avoiding the interruption of isolated islands' airlinks. Olympic was bought in 3 parts of 44,8 (Suissport etc. for ground segments), 45,7 (Marfin etc. for maintenance management, etc) and 16,7 millions, totalling some 107,2 millions €. The new company will be 100% private, and slimer that the old one.    

The EU Commission's vice-President praised the "good cooperation" he had with both the Greek and Italian Governments.     

Questioned by "EuroFora" which other EU Countries are coming next, Tajani said that he "didn't know yet who" might be on the privasation's pipeline.. But he announced that he had recently started contacts also with the Austrian government, initially for a loan, and may be later for the sale of Austrian Airlines.

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    UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brownn's promise to French President Sarkozy that Great Britain will proceed to Lisbon Treaty's ratification was certainly fuelled further by MEPs' warning, meanwhile in Strasbourg, that all Enlargement stops until EU can have efficient Institutions for more than 27 member Countries.    

    EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert Poettering, formally announced this position, after consulting all Political Groups' Chairmen, Monday in Strasbourg, and most MEPs made the point crystal clear during Plenary Debates on Wednesday.   

     Thus, from Thursday, UK's House of Commons, at Westminster, gave its "Green Light" to Lisbon Treaty's ratification, which was completed later-on, after ovecoming some last minute attempts to block the process.

    - In only 3 other Member Countries we feel some "hesitations" : Poland, Czech Republic and Cyprus", said, meanwhile, EU Chairman-in-office, Slovenian Foreign Minister, Dr. Dimitri Ruppel, speaking to EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Strasbourg, However, "I didn't hear any explicit refusal", he carefully added.

    Rupel's fears were later bellied in Cyprus' case, where a wide majority of political parties confirmed their support to the EU Treaty, but fears were confirmed in Poland's case, while Czechs said they waited for their Constitutional Court to pronounce itself.

    A paradox is that the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who reportedly expressed concerns about Lisbon Treaty, had personally signed himself its blueprint, while, on the contrary, Cyprus' new President, Christofias, despite its own party's opposal, declared that he'll respect the signature of his precedessor, former President Tassos Papadopoulos, in favor of EU Treaty.

    But, "all that noise is a misinterpretations by some Western Media : Poland will ratify the EU Treaty, and even earlier than some other Member Countries", declared to "EuroFora", in a surprisingly optimistic tone, the Polish Chairman of EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Saryuswolski...

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