France Telecom has been hit for €1bn, after the European Court of First Instance rejected its appeal against a ruling that it enjoyed eight years of unfair tax breaks from the French government. The European Commission ruled five years ago the the French incumbent enjoyed illicit state aid - in the form of business tax breaks - …
How the EU works
1. The Germans make the rules.
2. The British* obey the rules.
3. The French ignore the rules.
4. And the others don't even know there are meant to be any rules.
* OK and the Scandinavians as well.
@ Chris Miller
The British obey the rules ? Er, retention of innocents dna ?
Since when does the Brits follow the rules?
I think the list should be:
1. The Germans makes the rules and pay for the gig
2. The Scandinavians follow the rules
3. The Brits and French ignore the rules
4. The rest don´t under stand them.
The Future is Worse
Coincidentally these tax breaks left French Telecom enough money to buy and destroy the best UK mobile operator. Now looks like those subscribers will now be expected to pay part of the billion euro bill (with a help from even more luckless T-Mobile customers).
That's the problem when the intended competitors to the old monolithic state minded landline telecoms are allowed to takeover, emasculate and suck dry ...
Another example of the French looking after the French
Pity the British Government would take a few lessons and try and protect a few British Jobs instead of letting them all slip away......
Vote for a new way! Vote Lib Dem for a coalition government and share the power and maybe some of the wealth.
I'd rather be French...
... than vote libdem.
I have always quite liked the French...
but i would never trust them not to solely look out for French interests.
The Americans at least have the pretense that they are worldly naive and blindly act out of self interest.
Not sure this is all important
It is of public record that France Telecom has regularly contributed "voluntarily" to state coffers in the past. The setup used to be as follows :
- FT has monopoly over national comms and sets prices with great freedom
- This generates billions in revenue for FT, which does not lower prices, citing investment provisions
- State exempts FT of taxes more or less
- Whenever the State requires a windfall, it takes it from FT coffers with a smile
So really, FT has always been the fat pig propping up the French treasury. I fail to see why this fine is relevant. It was just how we were doing business at the time.
It is important
Well it kind of is important. If FT pay less taxes or receive cheaper funding through the government than others can get then they're getting an unfair competitive advantage. Hence EU governments being required to divest their holdings in PTTs in the early 90's.
Even worse, they then use their ill-gotten gains to expand abroad and compete with telcos in other countries who are playing (largely) by the rules.
If the British government had bankrolled Rover and Rover then started selling cars in France at a price that PSA or Renault couldn't compete with I'm sure there would have been some eyebrows raised. This is exactly the same.
Now onto the rest...
Great and about time too.
When are EDF, GDF, Air France, etc going to get scrutinised then? EDF in particular was able to invest in and eventually buy several private companies across the EU while still being supported by the French state. Meanwhile the French were very keen to keep foreign investment in their companies to a minimum. Protectionsim at it's worst....
Orange & T-Mob
wonder if this was taken into account when the Orange and T-Mob deal was being sorted?
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