The European Union’s Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that an agreement in 2005 between the Hungarian government and Hungarian oil and gas company MOL relating to mining fees does not constitute state aid. The court said the combination of that agreement and the increase in the rate of mining fees did not favour MOL over its competitors.
The European Commission (EC) had claimed the 2005 agreement, which fixed the rate of the mining fee for MOL, together with the increase of the mining fee constituted state aid incompatible with the common market. The European Commission therefore asked Hungary to recover that aid from MOL, which amounted to about 96.6 million euros for 2008 and about 6.6 million euros for 2009.
MOL challenged the decision at the General Court, Europe’s second highest, which threw out the Commission’s decision in 2013, saying there was no evidence the company benefited from favourable treatment. The EU’s competition authority subsequently appealed to the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union. However, “the Court of Justice has dismissed the Commission’s appeal in its entirety,” judges said in a statement cited by Reuters.
via hungarymatters.hu and reuters.com photo: public domain