The European Commission has ordered Germany to recover € 30 million of incompatible state aid from a slaughterhouse disposal services provider. The beneficiary, Zweckverband Tierkörperbeseitigung (ZT), holds an exclusive right for the disposal of hazardous animal waste in Rhineland-Palatinate. Germany found this to be a public service because ZT must maintain spare capacity to manage the possibility of an epidemic outbreak, such as foot-and-mouth disease. Accordingly, ZT had received € 2.25 million a year from regional authorities.
Prompted by a complaint, the Commission had opened an in-depth investigation into ZT. As a result of the investigation, the Commission found that ZT was not entitled to public aid because it had no extra costs for its waste disposal services: ZT had "sufficient spare capacity besides its normal operations to master an epidemic outbreak." Furthermore, the ECJ had held that polluters, such as farmers and slaughterhouses, are fully liable to pay all costs of animal waste disposal (see GEMO (2003), case C-126/01). The Commission also found that the aid had gone toward ZT's normal operating costs. This gave ZT an undue economic advantage, as it allowed ZT to price its services at a loss.
Full content: EC Press Release
Related content: Identifying, Challenging, and Assigning Political Responsibility for State Regulation Restricting Competition (Maureen Ohlhausen, Federal Trade Commission)
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