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Support for Services in the Lithuanian Electricity Sector · Case C-706/17 Achema · Annotation by Lina Barauskaitė

Annotation on the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice (Fourth Chamber) of 15 May 2019 in Case C-706/17 AB Achema, AB Orlen Lietuva and AB Lifosa v Valstybinė kainų ir energetikos kontrolės komisija, Lietuvos Respublikos energetikos ministerija, UAB Baltpool

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2019/3/13

Lina Barauskaitė


On 15 May 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU or the Court) rendered a landmark state aid preliminary ruling where it assessed the Lithuanian public interest services (PIS) support measure provided to certain Lithuanian electricity producers. The measure was never notified to the European Commission and was subject to number of court disputes at the national level. The ruling confirms that the PIS support in the electricity sector constitutes State aid. In particular, the Court confirms that PIS funds can be regarded as State resources, since their life cycle (collection, administration and distribution) are strictly regulated and remains under the control of the Lithuanian State. PIS funds are also intended to finance certain services in the electricity sector, constituting a selective advantage. Moreover, due to characteristics of the Lithuanian electricity market, such as existing interconnectors and European Union electricity market liberalisation, PIS scheme is also liable to affect trade between the Member States and distort competition. Finally, the Court also expressed its doubts whether PIS should be defined as service of general economic interest (SGEI). According to the Court, the requirements for SGEI existence are not met.
Keywords: Energy; Electricity; State resources; Imputability; Effect on trade; Distortion of competition; SGEI.

Lina Barauskaitė, LLM College of Europe and LLM (Fulbright) University of Pittsburgh; also a handler at the European Commission, DG Competition dealing with State aid in the energy sector. The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official opinion of the European Commission.

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