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Hinkley Point C: Trimming the SAM, While Extending the Reach of Wider EU Law Infringements?

Leigh Hancher, Antonios Bouchagiar


Keywords: Hinkley, objective of common interest, indissoluble link, energy

The judgment of the Court of Justice in the Hinkley case provides food for thought on several fundamental questions of EU State aid law. The present article discusses two of them. First, the authors analyse the role (if any) of objectives of common interest in the assessment of compatibility of aid under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU, as well as the manner in which the Commission should balance the positive against the negative effects of such aid. Second, the authors explore how strong the link of relevance should be between an aid measure and an alleged breach of other EU law (outside the field of State aid) for such a breach to affect the compatibility assessment of the aid. The authors analyse whether the Hinkley judgment has lowered the threshold for finding such a link in comparison to the previous case-law requiring an 'indissoluble link', which could have significant institutional implications.
Keywords: Hinkley; objective of common interest; indissoluble link; energy
Milestones Preview: this article is based on a chapter of the upcoming second edition of the book 'Milestones in State Aid Case Law' (Lexxion 2022).

Leigh Hancher is Professor of European Law, Tilburg University, Professor of Energy Markets, Bergen University and Professor of EU Energy Law, FSR/RSCAS/EUI. She is special counsel to the Brussels office of Baker Botts PLC. Antonios Bouchagiar is a member of the Legal Service of the European Commission. The views expressed in this article are purely those of the author and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.


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