Several CSU politicians have criticized the EU Commission's requirements for the planned Lufthansa government aid as too strict. "The EU Commission is on the wrong track," said CSU General Secretary Markus Blume to the Handelsblatt . On the one hand, it would not go together to call for astronomical aid in the billions to strengthen the European economy, and on the other hand to want to "chain" Lufthansa.
Germany can only help others in Europe with a strong economy, Blume continued. "We expect the EU Commission to be more economically and politically smart." There is no competitive deficit in aviation, but rather insufficient demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government wants to stabilize Lufthansa with a nine-billion-euro aid package. The airline's supervisory board has not yet approved the project. The company cited possible conditions imposed by the EU Commission, which could check the take-off and landing rights at various airports in the event of state aid. There is concern that the hubs in Frankfurt am Main and Munich could be weakened.
The Commission has so far not given any opinions on the specific negotiations with Lufthansa. She always referred to the relevant rules that make it possible to impose conditions as a measure against distortions of competition in the case of high state aid. An EU diplomat also said there was tension in the European Union over the high level of aid that Germany is using to support its economy.
Lufthansa is a precedent, the diplomat said. Many countries watched the bailout because the stability or instability of the largest European airline group would have a massive impact on air traffic in Europe. "Whatever the Commission allows Lufthansa to do will become a blueprint for any other bailout or aid - from KLM to Finnair to Brussels Airlines or LOT," said the diplomat.
Söder: "You also have to accept that we want to help ourselves"
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) meanwhile called for equal treatment of Lufthansa with other airlines in difficulty. "The EU Commission must not put additional ballast on the plane for German and therefore European Lufthansa due to obstructive conditions," said Scheuer to the Bild newspaper. The EU Commission does not do that for other airlines either. Scheuer alluded to Alitalia, which receives Corona aid, but is not supposed to give up start and country rights - so-called slots.
The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) asked the EU Commission to show understanding for Germany's decision. "It is not very happy that the sensible German state aid for Lufthansa from Brussels is to demand that Lufthansa restrict the take-off and landing rights in favor of low-cost airlines," said the CSU chief of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . "Germany wants to help others, but you also have to accept that we want to help ourselves."