null Finland replies to European Commission on Sanoma’s complaint concerning YLE

Finland replies to European Commission on Sanoma’s complaint concerning YLE

Press release 21.06.2021 15.20 fi sv en

A remote control and a TV screen (Photo: Shutterstock)

On 21 June 2021, Finland sent a reply to the European Commission on Sanoma Media Finland’s complaint concerning the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.

On 3 June, Finland proposed to the European Commission that correspondence relating to the complaint be public. The Commission has now agreed that Sanoma Media Finland’s complaint and the Commission’s request for a reply can be published. For the time being, a summary of Finland’s reply will be published. Due to EU legislation, correspondence with the Commission is, in principle, confidential.

The complaint submitted by Sanoma Media Finland Ltd to the European Commission concerns, in particular, the video-on-demand services and electronic learning content of YLE. YLE currently produces video-on-demand services and provides them in Yle Areena. In the complainant’s view, the services do not comply with EU state aid legislation.

According to the reply now submitted by the state of Finland, the video-on-demand services and electronic learning contents are in accordance with the Act on the Finnish Broadcasting Company Ltd and the EU state aid legislation. For this reason, Sanoma’s complaint is, according to the reply, unfounded.

In Finland, the decision-making regarding YLE’s tasks, funding and monitoring has consistently been strongly parliamentary. The chairs of parliamentary groups represented in YLE’s Administrative Council have been informed of the complaint.

An earlier complaint submitted by the Finnish Media Federation

A complaint against the state of Finland concerning the extent of YLE’s tasks has been submitted earlier by the Finnish Media Federation. As a result, a government proposal was submitted and it is now under parliamentary consideration.

There are two different complaints. According to the view presented by the officials of the Ministry of Transport and Communications to the chairs of the parliamentary groups represented in the Administrative Council, the complaints should be considered separate from each other. It is not yet clear how the new complaint will be processed further in the EU Commission, and combining the two could delay the processing of the first complaint.

What next?

The EU Commission will assess, whether Finland’s replies are sufficient and will decide, whether any additional information should be requested from Finland. The processing of state aid matters in the EU may take several years and include many rounds of communication.

Inquiries

Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director-General, Services Department, tel. +358 50 344 3400, @op-rantala

Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 507 0916, @WirenSini