The Court of First Instance (CFI) has annulled the European Commission’s Decision regarding the State financing of TV2/Danmark, the Danish public broadcaster. This case arose from a complaint by the Danish commercial broadcaster SBS regarding aid granted to TV2 in the form of licence fees and advertising revenue between 1995 and 2002. The Commission initiated a formal investigation procedure and found these measures to be compatible with the Common Market, with the exception of approximately EUR 84 million in licence fees and other measures.
On appeal, the CFI found the statement of reasons of the Decision to be inadequate. First, while the CFI agreed with the Commission that licence fees can be considered a State resource, the Commission had not sufficiently explained why it considered private advertising revenues as such. Second, the Commission did not provide the reasons why it considered there to be overcompensation received by TV2 as the result of the licence fee. In that regard, the Commission did not sufficiently examine the conditions under which the amount of licence fee income payable to TV2 was set, nor did it develop its claim that the Danish authorities did not regularly verify the level of accumulated reserves.
As the Commission had not stated sufficient reasons, its Decision was annulled.