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What is the Relevant Price for Determining the Existence of State Aid to Operators and Users of Infrastructure?

Phedon Nicolaides

This article examines whether operators and users of subsidised infrastructure receive indirect State aid. The practice of the Commission appears to be inconsistent. Normally, competitively selected operators and users who pay a “market” price are presumed not to benefit from State aid. This article argues that indeed the competitive process eliminates any undue advantage for operators. It also argues that it is difficult to determine what constitutes a market price given that any subsidy influences the price that users pay. In general, users always derive a benefit. However, this benefit does not constitute State aid.
Keywords: Infrastructure; Pricing of Access; Advantage for Operators.

Phedon Nicolaides, Professor at College of Europe and at University of Maastricht.


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