Italy could face legal action from the European Commission over its opposition to a planned merger between Italian toll road operator Autostade and Spain’s Abertis. Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has accused Rome of breaking an EU law allowing companies invest anywhere in the 25 European Union countries.
He said the Competition Commissioner Nellie Kroes has already spoken to the Italian authorities about it: “That is what she is discussing with them, that the Italian decree law, places an undue restriction on the freedom of capital movement. And that’s the basis of our correspondence with the Italian authorities. And that is the basis on which we propose to open formal preceedures against Italy.
It will be on those grounds of an undue restriction on the freedom of capital movement.”
The merger between Autostade and Abert, which is worth nearly 14 billion euros, would create the world’s biggest toll road company, operating in 16 countries with a network of more than 6,700kilometers and 20,000 employees.
European competition regulators have already said that Italy placed “unjustified obstacles” in the way of the merger, through a government decision and a ruling from its road authority ANAS rejecting the deal.
Autostade is already talking about demanding damages from the Italian government.