EU unhappy with Greece over OA

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – European Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said yesterday he saw no progress in making Greece comply with a 2005 order to recover hundreds of millions of euros in state aid from Olympic Airways. The European Union executive has taken Greece to court over subsidies to the loss-making airline, saying it must recover as much as 540 million euros ($691.8 million) in aid and unpaid taxes from Olympic Airways and its successor, Olympic Airlines. «We have not seen any progress so far, so we are obliged to pursue Greece for lack of respect of the rules,» Barrot told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference. «We have to obtain respect for the European rules. It is not possible to permit Olympic Airways to continue to obtain public help,» he said. The European Commission and Athens have been locked in a long battle over aid to the airline, once owned by tycoon Aristotle Onassis, which it has received several times over the past decade. The EU introduced strict rules on aid to airlines in order to create a level playing field among carriers.

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