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FUNDING Austria

ORF funding in compliance with European regulations

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The European Commission has ruled that Austrian public service broadcaster ORF’s funding system complies with European regulations on State subsidies. This is in view of the official pledges made by the Austrian authorities to clarify ORF’s public service mandate, to clearly differentiate it from its commercial activities and to limit its funding to the minimum necessary for the fulfilment of its public service activities (as well as a series of other reforms).

Following complaints from press editors and heads of local commercial TV networks, an inquiry was opened. The Commission pointed out to Austria that the use of television licence fees for financing the ORF did not create conditions of fair competition in the sector, for lack of a clear definition of its public service mandate, in particular regarding its online activities and sports programmes.

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Neele Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition, believes that the pledges made by Austria will restore "the right balance" between public service and fair competition.

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