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EU State Aid Control in a Dynamic Global Environment:

Time to Rethink the Interested Party Concept?

Antonis Metaxas


Keywords: interested party, State aid control procedure, NGO, Aarhus Convention, Aarhus Regulation

EU State aid rules, as a normative framework for ensuring and preserving undistorted competition in an equitable Common Market, traditionally constitute fundamental provisions of the EU legal order. Within this framework, the constructive cooperation of the Member State concerned with the European Commission is important when assessing the compatibility of an aid measure with the internal market. Notwithstanding the bilateral character of the control procedure, the participation of interested parties enables the Commission to get a better insight regarding the contested aid measure in order to conclude whether the latter is aligned with the Union’s interests and policies. In a dynamic global environment, these interests and prevailing priorities are constantly redefined (climate change is a prominent example). To the extent that this broader, dynamic scope of EU State aid control is accepted, the question arises if State aid measures adopted by a Member State for supporting a given activity shall be assessed not only on the grounds provided for by the Member State concerned, the recipient of the aid or its direct competitors. In this context, the author claims that aspects of procedural efficiency must be held in balance with the reality of normative interdependence and the necessity of compatibility among EU policies. Procedurally, the question now arises if and to which extent the interested party concept must be broadened so that, for example, organisations of the civil society obtain a ‘locus standi’ in EU State aid control administrative procedures as well as in respective judicial proceedings before EU Courts.
Keywords: interested party; State aid control procedure; NGO; Aarhus Convention; Aarhus Regulation

Dr Antonis Metaxas is Associate Professor of EU Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Visiting Professor at TU Berlin and Chairman of the Hellenic State Aid Institute. The author wishes to thank Alexandra Kornilaki for her research assistance. For correspondence: <>.


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