Friday

28th Apr 2017

Commission questions state financing of public service broadcasters

  • Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission has requested the German, Irish and Dutch governments to explain their financing rules for public service broadcasters.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes wrote on Thursday (3rd of March) to the three governments, showing the Commission's concern over complaints received that these practices constitute a distortion of competition rules.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The Commission's preliminary view is that the current financing system in no longer in line with EU rules", wrote Kroes.

According to EU Competition rules, the founding of public service broadcasters though contributions form the state is acceptable as long as they are done in a transparent way and in an amount "necessary to fulfil a task in the public interest".

Funding by member-states' resources is considered to be state aid in most cases, of which the Commission is obliged to check for "abusive practices".

Further concerns raised in the Commission's investigation include the providing of online services such as e-commerce and mobile telephone services via the Dutch and German broadcasters websites, as well as irregularities in the practices of acquisition of sports rights by the German and Irish broadcasters.

The Commissioner also asked each state to create an independent entity to monitor compliance with these rules.

According to Deutsche Welle, both the ARD and ZDF are set to scale down their internet services "as a precautionary measure".

Irish RTE "welcomes and endorses the principles the Commission upholds as regards Public Service Broadcasting".

A similar warning was made in October 2003 to France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, all countries with a record of yearly state money transfers into unprofitable public service media.

According to a Commission spokesperson, the four countries showed a "commitment to implement the necessary measures" and the results are being monitored.

Eurogroup makes 'progress' on Greek deal

Eurozone ministers endorsed an agreement in principle between the Greek government and its creditors over a new package of reforms. But talks on fiscal targets and debt could still block a final agreement.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Investigation

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act
  3. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  4. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  6. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  7. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  8. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  9. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  10. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  11. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?