The European Commission (EC) has concluded that the aid received by terrestrial operators for the digitisation and extension of the terrestrial television network in remote areas of Spain was against EU State aid rules.
Following the annulment of a 2013 EC decision, an additional investigation has confirmed that, between 2005 and 2008, the operators of terrestrial platforms received an incompatible selective advantage over their competitors using other technologies such as satellite, in breach of the principle of technological neutrality. Indeed, the measures were selective because they benefited only DTT operators, although DTT and satellite technologies are in a comparable factual and legal situation (satellite technology could have been used for the digital switch-over in remote areas).
Spain now has to recover the incompatible aid “without delay in order to remove the distortion of competition created by the aid”.
According to the EC, there are no fines under EU State aid rules and recovery does not penalise the companies in question. It simply restores equal treatment with other companies.
Spain will determine the amount to be recovered from each individual beneficiary, in line with the methodology set out under the EC decision.
Therefore, the final figures on the number of companies subject to recovery and on the total aid amount to be recovered cannot be known at this stage.