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A New Boost to National Recovery? · Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar · Annotation by Svein Terje Tveit

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 5 March 2019 in Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar AS v Ettevõtluse Arendamise Sihtasutus, Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium.

Svein Terje Tveit


Keywords: GBER, Recovery, National enforcement, Unlawful aid, National legal basis

On 5 March 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJ) issued an important ruling clarifying the scope of the national authorities’ obligation to recover unlawful State aid and the test for ‘incentive effect’ — a requirement for an aid measure to benefit from the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). The CJ confirms that national authorities must recover unlawful State aid also in cases where the aid is granted (wrongfully) under the GBER as regional investment aid and the Commission has not adopted any Decision. The aid beneficiary may not rely on the principle of protection of legitimate expectations even if the granting authority had recommended the aid beneficiary to apply for aid knowing that work on the project had begun before the aid application was submitted. In cases where the EU rules on limitation period and interests are not directly applicable, national rules apply, so that the national authorities must seek full recovery of the unlawful aid and thereby ensure the effectiveness of State aid rules.
Keywords: GBER; Recovery; National enforcement; Unlawful aid; National legal basis.

Svein Terje Tveit, LLM, LLM, is a partner with Arntzen de Besche law firm (Oslo, Norway) in their Procurement and Competition Law department. He formerly worked with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London) and Thommessen (Oslo, Norway), and has worked on a number of high-profile State aid matters. In 2018, he contributed to the publication of L Hancher, A de Hauteclocque and F Salerno (eds), ‘State Aid and the Energy Sector’ (Hart Publishing 2018).


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