ALICANTE FILM STUDIO INVESTIGATED

The European Commission announced last week that it is to investigate the Ciudad de la Luz film studios in Alicante to determine if funding from the Valencia regional government could have distorted competition between European studios. It follows complaints from two film companies in Europe to the effect that the investment could have violated European regulations on state aid. Brussels said the Ciudad de la Luz complex is wholly owned by a company which is itself owned by the Valencia government through the Sociedad de Proyectos Temáticos de la Comunitat Valencia. In a press statement, the European Commissioner for Competition, Neelie Kroes, said the studios have so far received 200 million euros of public money, and pointed out that the final amount could be higher once construction is complete. The EC said the Spanish authorities’ argument is that the public support was not state aid as a private investor would have invested on the same terms. He said the Commission “doubts that a private investor would have provided 100% funding for such a new large-scale entrant in a competitive market.” Representatives of the Ciudad de la Luz said they have presented all the accounts for the centre to the European Commission to “show that the investment was justified”. The latest Asterix movie, Asterix at the Olympic Games, was shot at the Ciudad de la Luz, and premiered in Spain earlier this month.

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