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The Evolving Nature of the Notion of Aid under EU Law

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2016/3/8

Juan Jorge Piernas López


This article is concerned with the legal concept of State aid under Article 107(1) TFEU.The article argues that the concept of aid is a ‘living instrument’ that has been applied in accordance with the main policy priorities of the European Commission. The article also contends that the evolution of this concept has been influenced by the broader advancement of the case-law of the Court of Justice in different periods of the integration process. Thirdly, the article submits that the study of the origins of subsidy control in Europe, of the legislative history of today’s Article 107(1) TFEU, and of the policy and enforcement considerations that have affected the development of the concept of aid is not only enriching from an intellectual point of view but also useful to decide difficult cases.
Keywords: Notion of Aid; Article 107(1) TFEU; Evolution; Policy; History; Case Law.

Juan Jorge Piernas López is Assistant Professor of European Union Law at the University of Murcia (Spain) and consultant to the World Bank in State aid matters. The PhD thesis on which this article is based was defended in June 2013 at the European University Institute in Florence. A revised version of the thesis was published by Oxford University Press in 2015 under the title "The concept of aid under EU Law: from internal market to competition and beyond".

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