Skip to content

Quo Vadis Access to Documents in State Aid Investigations? · Case T-134/20 Huhtamaki Sàrl · Annotation by Federico Fichera

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court of the European Union (First Chamber) of 2 March 2022 in Case T-134/20 Huhtamaki Sàrl v European Commission

Federico Fichera


Keywords: administrative file, access to documents, Regulation 1049/2001, general presumption of confidentiality

On 2 March 2022, the First Chamber of the General Court of the European Union gave its judgment in Case T-134/20 Huhtamaki v Commission, which concerned the right to access to the documents of a State aid investigation's file. While the judgment confirmed a number of principles that have been consistently upheld by the case law of the Court of Justice, it also raised some interesting points concerning the obligation for the European Commission to state reason in case of a well-circumstanced request for access to documents. The General Court explained that the Commission should, when assessing such requests, take into consideration and give a separate motivation for the different (sub)categories of documents requested, thus introducing an element of novelty in such an assessment. This approach, not fully developed by the General Court, might redesign the presumption of confidentiality that traditionally applies to documents belonging to a State aid investigation's file. Moreover, there is a risk that it would cause an increase of disputes linked to requests for access to documents in the context of State aid investigations and jeopardise the Commission's assessment of such requests.

Federico Fichera, case handler, DG COMP. All views expressed in this case note are purely personal and may not be viewed as stating an official position of the European Commission.


Lx-Number Search

(e.g. A | 000123 | 01)

Export Citation