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The Awarding of Royal Warrants:

A State Aid Perspective on a Centuries-old National Practice

Marie-Louise Holle, Grith Skovgaard Ølykke

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2023/1/7

Keywords: concept of State, royal warrants, monarch, State resources, economic advantage

This article explores the tradition of awarding of royal warrants in monarchies in the EU. A royal warrant is an entitlement for an undertaking to utilise the fact that it is supplying a royal court with goods or services in its marketing, as a quality assurance. To determine the legality of awarding royal warrants under EU law, it is examined whether the EU State aid rules apply. To determine whether this is the case, it is decisive whether the monarch is the ‘State’ for the purpose of Article 107(1) TFEU. Therefore, EU law and national public law is analysed. The analysis shows that legal analysis of royal warrants rests on the public/private divide. It is analysed how the various national legal conceptualisations of the monarch fits in the EU concept of State, encompassing all entities which may reasonably be said to act on behalf or under influence of the State. No hard conclusion can be drawn, but it is found that the monarch’s resources are State resources and that the awarding of royal warrants arguably must be considered as imputable to the State. Further, royal warrants confer an economic advantage on beneficiaries, and the monarch does not (formally) receive any (market-like) remuneration. Thus, it is concluded that the award of a royal warrant grants State aid to the benefitting undertaking.
Keywords: concept of State; royal warrants; monarch; State resources; economic advantage

Associate professor Marie-Louise Holle, PhD, Copenhagen Business School, and Grith Skovgaard Ølykke, PhD, Commercial law consultant, Principal, Law Firm Poul Schmith, external lecturer at Copenhagen Business School. The opinions expressed are those of the authors alone.


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