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Ciudad de la Luz v Commission   ∙ Joined Cases T-319/12 and T-321/12 ∙ Annotation by Marinne Clayton, Maria J. Segura and Egill D. Ólafsson

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Seventh Chamber) of 3 July 2014 in Joined Cases T-319/12 and T-321/12 Ciudad de la Luz

Marianne Clayton, Maria J. Segura, Egill D. Ólafsson

By a judgment dated 3 July 2014, the General Court confirmed the Commission’s Market Economy Investor Principle (MEIP) assessment of the public investment in the film studio complex Ciudad de la Luz in which a private investor had initially participated. The investment decision was taken on the basis of two independent expert reports that assessed the viability and profitability of the project. The General Court confirmed that the MEIP does not require to achieve the maximum possible return. It also found that the private investor involved in the project should be disregarded in the MEIP assessment as it only committed to a marginal amount of the investment and as it was a “service provider” for Ciudad de la Luz. Its engagement therefore could not be assessed on the basis of the logic of “private investor.” Moreover, the Court found that it was up to the Member States to assess the content of independent reports and be critical of their findings. Consequently, the Court confirmed the Commission’s assessment of a hypothetical investor’s behaviour which demonstrated that the investment was not profitable and thus constituted State aid, which was not compatible under regional or cultural considerations.
Keywords: Market Economy Investor Principle, Private Investor, Independent Expert Reports, Regional Aid Guidelines.

Marianne Clayton and Maria J. Segura are Partners at Clayton & Segura State Aid Lawyers. Egill D. Olafsson is an associate at Clayton & Segura.


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