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Lucchini Revisited: When Judgments Harm Competition · Case C-586/18 P Buonotourist and Case C-587/18 P CSTP Azienda della Mobilità · Annotation by Rosario Federico

Annotation on the Judgments of the Court (Ninth Chamber) of 4 March 2020 in Case C-586/18 P Buonotourist and Case C-587/18 P CSTP Azienda della Mobilità

Rosario Federico


Keywords: new or existing aid, principle of res iudicata, national judges, primacy, effective judicial protection

This case note analyses Buonotourist and CSTP Azienda della Mobilità, two recent judgments of the Court of Justice concerning the application of State aid control against overcompensation of public transport companies. The relevance of the judgments stems from the clear stance taken by the Court in relation to the exclusive competence of the European Commission to assess the compatibility of State aid measures, regardless of the judicial activity of national courts. By contrast with previous rulings, where the Court of Justice tried to balance the effective application of Article 107 TFEU and the principle of res
iudicata, in the present judgments the focus is all on primacy of EU law over the adjudicatory activity of Member States’ judges. The message for national courts is clear: they must be vigilant against the granting of State aid in any form or the validity of their rulings may be put in question. While this interpretation confirms the importance of competition in the EU legal system, it is legitimate to wonder whether the values of effective judicial protection and legal certainty have been duly considered. The way forward requires an enhanced effort by the Court of Justice to clarify the many open issues which surround the ‘notion of aid’ to make it manageable by national courts.

Rosario Federico, LLM, PhD candidate in European Law, University of Bologna, Italy. For correspondence: <>.The author thanks Prof Pietro Manzini, Nicola Bergamaschi, Eva Bukaiova and Miriana Lanotte for reading and commenting on the draft version of this piece. All mistakes are solely attributable to the author.


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