ARTICLES – ENERGY AND STATE AID CONTROL ∙ Balancing Environmental Protection, Competitiveness and Competition: A Critical Assessment of the GBER and the EEAG
Looking at EU State aid control of environmental taxation, and in particular at the General Block Exemption Regulation and the Environmental Guidelines, this article makes a critical assessment of the balance between competitiveness, environmental protection and competition. After identifying the meaning and the role of the protection of environment, competition and competitiveness in this context, the contribution focuses on the conditions of compatibility of environmental tax reliefs in both the GBER and the Environmental Guidelines. It assesses how the balance between these three general interests is designed in these two legal instruments, as well as whether and how it can be improved. It is concluded that the conditions therein laid down to assess the compatibility of a tax relief with EU State aid law are not strict enough and leave Member States too much leeway for granting such tax reliefs. It finally gives some guidance on how to improve it.
Keywords: Environmental Aid; Fiscal Aid; Energy Taxation; GBER; EEAG; Balancing Test; Competitiveness.