The Court of First Instance (CFI) has annulled the European Commission’s decision under EU State aid rules not to raise any objections to Belgium’s notification of a proposal to increase the capital of the public undertaking responsible for its universal postal operator, La Poste.

The challenge to the Commission’s decision to approve the capital injection was brought by La Poste’s German competitor, Deutsche Post and its Belgian subsidiary, DHL International. The CFI decided that, given the serious difficulty in assessing the compatibility of the increase in capital with the Common Market, the Commission should have initiated a detailed investigation, which would have allowed the claimants to submit their observations.

It was not for the CFI to rule at this stage of the procedure on whether aid exists or whether it is compatible with the Common Market. The Commission has two months to appeal the ruling.