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The Thin Red Line Between Existing and New Aid: The Buonotourist Case · Case T-185/15 Buonotourist Srl v European Commission · Annotation by Davide Guadagnino

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Second Chamber) of 11 July 2018 in Case T-185/15 Buonotourist Srl v European Commission.

Davide Guadagnino


Keywords: Public transport, SGEI, Compensation, Altmark, New aid

This note offers a detailed overview on the Buonotourist Case (T-185/15), where the General Court confirmed Commission Decision 2015/575 ordering the recovery of the beneficiary’s extra compensation regime. It provides an in-depth analysis of the application of Regulation (EC) 659/1999, highlighting the procedural and substantive aspects relating to the notions of ‘existing aid’ and ‘new aid’. First, the note provides a description of the background to the dispute, focusing on the compensation granted to Buonotourist Srl for the costs occurred in the fulfilment of its public service obligations, as well as the related Commission Decision. Then, the Court’s reasoning is underlined, namely the assessment of the compensatory regime in the light of the exemption established under Article 11 of Regulation (EEC) 1191/69 and the Altmark judgment. The annotation highlights the controversial aspects of the measure, such as the ex post calculation of the compensation and the absence of unilaterally imposed public service obligations, which led to its classification as ‘new aid’. Finally, the author’s opinion is given, focusing on the nature of public service obligations and the applicability of Article 93 TFEU in the case at hand.
Keywords: Public transport; SGEI; Compensation; Altmark; New aid.

Davide Guadagnino, LLM in European Law from Universiteit Maastricht; Trainee Lawyer at Pavanini Zambardi Colaiocco Baldin Law Firm.


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