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State Aid as a Tool to Achieve Technology Neutrality   ∙ Abertis Telecom, SA and Retevisión I, SA v Commission   ∙ Case T-541/13 ∙ Annotation by Pablo Ibáñez Colomo

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court of the European Union (Fifth Chamber) of 26 November 2015 in Case T-541/13 Abertis Telecom, SA and Retevisión I, SA v Commission


Pablo Ibáñez Colomo

In Abertis (a representative judgment of a saga of similar cases), the General Court dismissed an action for annulment against a Commission decision finding that the measures in support for the deployment of a digital terrestrial television network in Spain amounted to unlawful and incompatible State aid. According to the Commission, the support measures were not granted in accordance with the principle of technology neutrality, insofar as they excluded technologies such as satellite. In addition, it held that the Member State could not invoke the Altmark case law, or Article 106(2) TFEU, insofar as the operators had not been entrusted with a public service mission. This is so in spite of the fact that the Spanish Telecommunications Act explicitly referred to the transmission of broadcasting signals as a service of general economic interest. The analysis of the Commission was, by and large, validated by the General Court. The appeal against the judgment, in this and in similar cases, is currently pending.
Keywords: SGEI; Altmark; Technology Neutrality; Networks.

Department of Law, London School of Economics and Political Science. E-mail:


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