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Joined Cases C-73/22 P and C-77/22 P Grupa Azoty S.A. and Others v Commission · Annotation by Jakub Kociubiński journal article

Annotation on Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 13 July 2023 in Joined Cases C-73/22 P and C-77/22 P Grupa Azoty S.A. and Others v Commission

Jakub Kociubiński

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 23 (2024), Issue 1, Page 69 - 74

The annotated case concerns an unsuccessful attempt to challenge the Annex to the guidelines, comprising a catalogue of industries eligible for receiving State aid due to the risk of carbon leakage. The appellants’ operations were not included in this list. In its judgment, the Court ruled on the two main pleas: inadequate statement of reasons and error in not considering the applicants as interested parties in a situation where, although no individual Commission’s decision has been issued based on the guidelines yet, the fact of not being included in the Annex prevents them from receiving State aid. The commentary delves into the appellants’ line of reasoning, explaining the attempt to ‘force-fit’ arguments concerning the infringement of law into an issue that falls within the realm of policy. Moreover, the analysis assesses a potential opening left by the Court: challenging individual decisions that authorise aid for other undertakings, evaluating its viability in the context of the most recent developments in case law.

Locus Standi in State Aid Litigation After Montessori journal article

Valérie Noël, Sébastien Thomas

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 4, Page 512 - 528

In the Montessori ruling, the Court of justice confirmed the right of competitors of an aid scheme to bring an appeal against a Commission decision relating to this scheme. The ruling provides a flexible interpretation of the three conditions laid down in the third limb of Article 263(4) TFEU. We analyze the judgment of the Court and show that it creates differences in the ability of competitors of beneficiaries of State aid to access EU courts. Access is easier if the aid flows from a state aid regime rather than if the aid is granted individually. The Montessori ruling could have important implications for the notion of 'direct concern' in other areas of EU law such as anti-dumping. To date, the Court seems to restrict the use of the Montessori ruling to rules on State aid. This approach could create confusion and lead to more stringent conditions regarding the notion of direct concern in other areas of EU law. Keywords: admissibility; locus standi; regulatory act; direct concern; regulatory act not entailing implementing measures; right not to be subject to competition distorted 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).

Nürburgring: Limited Scope to Challenge the Competitive Purchase of Assets That Have Received Aid · Cases T-353/15 NeXovation/European Commission and T-373/15 Ja zum Nürburgring/European Commission · Annotation by Irene Moreno-Tapia Rivas and Victoria Riv journal article

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court (First Chamber, Extended Composition) of 19 June 2019 in Cases T-353/15 NeXovation/ European Commission and T-373/15 Ja zum Nürburgring/European Commission

Irene Moreno-Tapia, Victoria Rivas Santiago

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 220 - 224

Almost a century after the construction of the German racing circuit Nürburgring, economic problems obliged the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate to finance a luxury complex around the race track with the purpose to save the park in economics terms. However, after having received a complaint, the European Commission started an investigation procedure which ended with a Decision on the State aid implemented by Germany for Nürburgring. In the meantime, the Nürburgring assets were sold through a tender process managed by the German Government under the rules agreed with the European Commission and the administrators of the assets. The Commission Decision determined that the measures in favour of the owners of Nürburgring were unlawful and incompatible with the European market rules; in addition, the European Commission decided, first, that any potential recovery of the aid would not concern the buyer of the assets; and, second, that the sale of the assets in the framework of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender process did not constitute State aid. The General Court upheld the Decision. Both judgments, T-353/15 and T-373/15 are currently appealed by both complainants before the Court of Justice.

Progressive Turnover Taxes under the Prism of the State Aid Rules: journal article

Effective Tools to Tax High Financial Capacity or Inconsistent Tax Design Granting Selective Advantages?

Rita Szudoczky, Balázs Károlyi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 251 - 270

Turnover-based progressive taxes are increasingly popular among the Member States. However, these taxes raise concerns regarding their compatibility with the EU State aid rules. Although there are multiple State aid concerns that deserve attention depending on the actual design of such taxes, the core issue is whether the ability to pay principle can serve as a legitimate objective underpinning turnover taxes and thus justify the different treatment of high-turnover and low-turnover undertakings. This question requires the careful assessment of de facto selectivity because in the case of progressive turnover taxes potential selectivity could only arise from the general construct of the tax in the absence of a derogation from a reference system. This article proposes an alternative test for the de facto selectivity boiling down in essence to the examination of the consistency of the tax. Furthermore, it analyses digital turnover taxes for their consistency with their declared objectives. Finally, the article explores how the Court’s unnecessarily strict approach to the admissibility of State aid questions in preliminary ruling procedures when the main proceeding concerns an individual tax notice could be eased.

Direct Concern in State aid Direct Actions · Joined Cases C-622/16 P to C-624/16 P Scuola Montessori v Commission · Annotation by Luca Carmosino journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 6 November 2018 in Joined Cases C-622/16 P to C-624/16 P Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori Srl v European Commission, European Commission v Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori Srl and European Commission v Pietro Ferracci

Luca Carmosino

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 1, Page 71 - 75

On 6 November 2018, the Court of Justice rendered a judgment in a proceeding that opposed the Commission and the competitor of a beneficiary of an aid set up by Italy. One of the most interesting issues that the case presents is the question of regulatory acts, and the application of the notion of regulatory acts to State aid decisions. The case explores three elements in relation to admissibility: (i) State aid measures are not sui generis; (ii) State aid decisions further the general application nature of a national measure; and (iii) the assessment of direct concern requires some factual analysis already at the admissibility stage of the procedure. On the substance, the case is interesting since it defines the extent of the Commission’s duties in assessing whether to order the recovery of an illegal State aid.

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