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2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 109/33

Action brought on 28 February 2002 by the Italian under Article 87(3) of the Treaty. That constitutes not
Republic against the Commission of the European Com- only a methodological error but also a failure to state
munities reasons.

(Case C-66/02) (d) Specifically as regards the reference to Article 87(3)(b) of

the Treaty, reconstruction of the origins of the Ciampi
law and of Legislative Decree No 153/99 clearly shows
(2002/C 109/56) how the Italian legislature sought, by means of the
various measures adopted, to bring about a significant
structural change in the Italian market for banking
services: the full and final privatisation of all Italian banks.
An action against the Commission of the European Communi- In order to achieve that objective it was necessary for the
ties was brought before the Court of Justice of the European banks to divest themselves of any controlling interests
Communities on 28 February 2002 by the Italian Republic, still held in savings banks and local banks. The elimination
represented by U. Leanza, acting as Agent, and M. Fiorilli, or reduction of the Italian banks’ substantial and persist-
avvocato dello Stato. ent holdings of public funds, or at least of funds that are
not attractive to private investors did not, contrary to
the Commission’s clear finding, distort competition by
The applicant claims that the Court should: favouring the recipient undertakings over others but, as
in the case of the southern Italian public banks, resulted
in the reduction of distortions existing prior to the reform
— Annul the Commission’s Decision of 11 December 2001 in question between genuinely private banks and those
in proceeding no C-54/A/2000/EC against the Italian which are private in form only, but not as regards
Republic, notified on 13 January 2002, in that there are the control of capital. In the opinion of the Italian
insufficient grounds for holding that the fiscal measures Government, the full and final privatisation of the Italian
accompanying the reform of the Italian banking system banks constitutes a ‘project of common European interest’
constitute ‘State aid’; which, under Article 87(3)(b), justifies a system of aid to
promote its implementation.
— Order the Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The Italian Government claims that the contested decision is

unlawful for the following reasons:
Action brought on 28 February 2002 by the Commission
(a) The Commission failed to comply with the obligation to of the European Communities against Ireland
state the reasons upon which the adopted decision was
(Case C-67/02)
(b) The law, which has been called in question with regard
to the effect on competition of the accompanying fiscal (2002/C 109/57)
measure, must be regarded as the final part of a process
of reform of the Italian system of credit and, therefore, as
part of an economic reform which should be assessed in
its general and Community law context. The relevance of
that law cannot be appreciated unless the state of the An action against Ireland was brought before the Court of
sector prior to the reform is taken into account. The Justice of the European Communities on 28 February 2002 by
contested decision wholly fails to consider those aspects. the Commission of the European Communities, represented
by Michael Shotter, acting as agent, with an address for service
(c) In addressing the Italian Government’s counter-argu- in Luxembourg
ments the Commission does not distinguish between
those concerned with the issue whether the fiscal
measures under investigation may be characterised as The Applicant claims that the Court should:
‘State aid’ and those concerned with the alternative issue
whether, if those measures are found to be ‘State aid’,
they qualify for exemption. The Commission possessed — declare that Ireland has failed to fulfill its obligations
all the information required to assess whether the law in under Council Directive 79/923/EEC (1) on the quality
question constituted a prohibited ‘State aid’ within the required of shellfish waters by reason of its failure to
meaning of Article 87(1) of the Treaty, or whether it may adopt programmes for all of its designated shellfish
be considered to be compatible with the common market waters in accordance with Article 5 of the Directive;