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France v Commission ∙ Case T-1/12  ∙ Annotation by  Stéphanie Strievi

Stéphanie Strievi

In Judgment T-1/12 France v Commission, the General Court confirms the decision by which the Commission declared certain measures in favour of SeaFrance granted by France through SNCF to be State aid incompatible with the internal market. The measures consisted, first, in a credit line and, second, in a capital increase and two loans. The Court took the view that the Commission rightly found that the conditions of the rescue and restructuring guidelines were not fulfilled because the company did not provide sufficient own contribution to the restructuring. A loan provided by SNCF could not be taken into account because – assessed globally together with other measures by SNCF – it did not meet the conditions of the MEOP and therefore constituted State aid. The crucial question was whether SNCF could act at the same time as grantor of aid and as private investor. The Court denied this. The judgment is in line with the new 2014 R&R Guidelines, according to which the own contribution for the restructuring of a public company should not be made by the aid granting authority.
Keywords: Rescue and Restructuring Aid, Market Economy Operator Principle


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