Deutsche Telekom has won a victory in a dispute with the European Union (EU) over interest payments for unjustified fines.

In a ruling published on Tuesday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered the EU Commission to make a corresponding payment. "This is not 'default interest', but interest intended to compensate the company in a lump sum for the withholding of the use of the amount in question."

In 2014, the EU Commission imposed a fine of 31 million euros on Telekom for abusing its dominant market position in Slovakia. The Bonn-based company took legal action against this, but paid the sum provisionally in 2015. In this process, the fine was reduced by twelve million euros. The EU repaid this amount in 2019, whereupon Deutsche Telekom claimed default interest of 1.8 million euros for the four years or so until reimbursement. According to the current ruling, the EU Commission must pay interest that is three and a half percentage points above the refinancing rate of the European Central Bank (ECB). The EU Commission has announced that it intends to review the ruling and the consequences thereof.

Following the current decision in favor of Deutsche Telekom, Intel can hope to also receive justice in similar proceedings. The US company is demanding 593 million euros in interest for a fine of over one billion euros, which was lifted in 2022. Some airlines are also seeking compensation for canceled fines.

(Report by Hakan Ersen, with the assistance of Foo Yun Chee, edited by Ralf Banser. If you have any questions, please contact our editorial team at (for politics and the economy) or (for companies and markets).)