The Commission has completed its investigation into the unlimited state guarantee enjoyed by the French Post Office (“La Poste”), following the adoption by the French Parliament of the law on the public enterprise La Poste and on postal activities. The Commission concluded that the conversion of La Poste into a public limited company will have the effect of removing the guarantee.

In 2007, the Commission launched an in-depth investigation into the state guarantee implicitly granted to La Poste which the Commission considers La Poste enjoys because of its status as a public body. The Commission’s main concern was that the guarantee was unlimited, provided free of charge and also covers La Poste's commercial activities. As a result, this gave La Poste an economic advantage over its competitors making it incompatible with the common market.

As European competition rules must apply equally to public and private enterprises, the Commission considers that it would be reasonable to ask the French authorities to remove the guarantee by 31 March 2010.

IP/10/51 – 26 January 2010