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Not Even the Church Is Absolved from State Aid Rules: The Essence of Economic Activity

Phedon Nicolaides


Keywords: Economic Activity, State Resources, Public Education

The boundaries of the concept of economic activity are constantly shifting. This paper examines the case of schools run by the church and funded by the State. The Court of Justice concluded that wholly State-funded education is not economic in nature. The paper criticises this approach of the Court. The source of funding should not have been the decisive criterion, for the simple reason that State aid to enterprises is also provided by the State. The decisive criterion should have been whether the purpose of the funding was to support an activity which was intended to be offered for remuneration.
Keywords: Economic Activity; State Resources; Public Education.

Phedon Nicolaides, Professor at the College of Europe and the University of Maastricht. I am grateful to the readers of the StateAidHub who made comments on the initial articles and helped me sharpen the argumentation in this paper. This paper is a revised version of two articles that were first published on Lexxion’s StateAidHub: <> (last accessed on 11 August 2017).


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