Germany's Constitutional Court authorised the Government on March 28 to retain all of the Euro 50.8 billion secured in August 2000 from the sale of UMTS third-generation mobile telephony licences, thus rejecting an appeal from several German L?nder. The Government was awaiting the judgement with some trepidation since a decision against it would have had serious consequences for its budget in what is already a difficult general context for public finances in the country. The L?nder, controlled by the Conservative opposition to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Bavaria, Baden-W?rttemberg and Hesse, were demanding half of the windfall condemning as unjust from a fiscal standpoint the fact that the Federal State should make off with all the bounty. However, the judges threw out this argument, concluding that the Federal State is responsible for the telecommunications sector and that there is...

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