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Greece slapped with 5-million-euro fine over Larco state aid

Greece slapped with 5-million-euro fine over Larco state aid

Greece is ordered to pay a lump sum of 5.5 million euros as well as a fine of more than 4 million euros every six months for its delay in recovering the illegal state aid granted to troubled nickel producer Larco, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said on Thursday.

The government was planning to liquidate state-owned Larco, one of Europe’s biggest nickel producers which is burdened by heavy debt.

Following an appeal by the European Commission against Greece, the ECJ ruled in 2017 that the country needed to recover 135.8 million euros it gave to the company in state aid, based on a Commission decision in 2014 related to capital injections and state guarantees.

“Greece failed to fulfil its obligations to take all necessary measures to comply with the 2017 judgment as at 25 March 2019 and, second, that the failure continued up to the Court’s examination of the facts,” the court said on Thursday, summing up its new ruling.

ECJ said it considers it “necessary” to impose the lump sum of 55. million euros “as a deterrent measure intended to prevent the recurrence of similar infringements of EU law,” and the 4.4 million per six months “to ensure full compliance with the 2017 judgment and to enable the Commission to assess the progress of the measures implementing that judgment.