Fresh from the school of "you couldn't make it up", the EU commission is set to approve a 517 million euro French loan to its ailing computer company Bull, to allow it to pay off an illegal loan of 450 million euros that it received from… the French government.
Last November, the commission decided to take France to the ECJ for failing to force Bull to pay back the 450 million smackers lent to Bull in 2002 by a June 2003 deadline. The loan was illegal because, under EU rules, a company cannot benefit from state aid more than once in 10 years. Bull had already received 1.3 billion euros in state aid at the end of 1994.
But, since the new loan to pay off the old loan comes after 10 years since the first bail-out, it is now legal and the commission thus has "no major concerns" about it. Nevertheless, the commission is still proceeding with its case against France in the ECJ for failing to recover the loan from Bull which it has now lent Bull the money to repay.
As they say, what a load of Bull.