Skip to content

The Never Ending ‘Saga’ of the Fallimento Traghetti del Mediterraneo · Case C-387/17 Traghetti del Mediterraneo · Annotation by Alessandra Franchi

Annotation of the judgment of the Court of Justice (First Chamber) of 23 January 2019 in Case C-387/17 Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri v Fallimento Traghetti del Mediterraneo

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2019/3/19

Alessandra Franchi


This judgment continues the ‘saga’ related to the litigation between Fallimento Traghetti del Mediterraneo and the Italian State concerning the unlawful State aid granted to Tirrenia di Navigazione SpA as compensation for public service obligations from 1976 to 1980 and shows the complexity of the assessments by national courts on damages related to the granting of unlawful State aid. The CJ provides guidance on the notion of existing aid, clarifying that State aid measures which were granted in a period when the maritime cabotage market was not yet liberalized at Union level cannot be classified as existing aid because of the merely formal absence of liberalisation of that market, to the extent that those subsidies were liable to affect trade between Member States and distorted or threatened to distort competition. The CJ also emphasises the cooperation obligation of the national courts and their role in awarding damages related to the distortion of competition created by unlawful State aid. Member State cannot invoke the principle of legitimate expectation in case of breach of the notification obligation set in Article 108 (3) TFEU. Finally, the CJ clarifies that the ten-year limitation period set out in Article 15, paragraph 1, of Regulation 659/1999 (repealed by Regulation 2015/1589), only applies to Commission investigation under Article 108, paragraph 3, TFEU and only refers to the Commission’s power and time limit for recovery of illegal aid, but does not apply in damages proceedings before the national jurisdictions.
Keywords: Existing aid; Recovery; National enforcement; Prescription; Damages.

Alessandra Franchi is Case Handler at DG Competition of the European Commission, in the State aid Unit dealing with Enforcement and Monitoring. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the writer and do not reflect the official position of the EU Commission.

Share


Lx-Number Search

A
|
(e.g. A | 000123 | 01)

Export Citation