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The Three Poisons of Post-Covid State Aid Control: journal article open-access

Emerging Trends in Interpretation and Legislative Approach to Member States’ Aid Measures

Jakub Kociubiński

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 1, Page 4 - 16

Even though the economic situation remains precarious, the Covid-19 economic shock has subsided enough to allow us to take stock of the European Union (EU) responses to the pandemic and appraise them in the context of emerging trends. The author argues that there are early precursors of such trends – referred to as the ‘Three Poisons’ – observable in interpretive and legislative approaches to Member States’ aid measures. These are: the easier justification of extended lifelines without adequately recognising the need for adaptation to new market conditions, and moral hazard associated with subsidy dependence; the blurring of lines between what is theoretically rational and what is obtainable under crisis market conditions thereby distorting the results of the Market Economy Operator Test; the increasing reliance on ad hoc frameworks, and highly situation-specific interpretations potentially eroding the pre-existing acquis. In this context, the purpose of this article is to identify post-Covid trends which negatively affect or might affect the long-term effectiveness of the EU State aid control system. Based on this, to assess whether these ‘poisons’ can and should be opposed. This analysis will conclude with de lege lata and de lege ferenda recommendations. Keywords: COVID-19; market economy operator test; MEOP; moral hazard; ad hoc regulation; common assessment criteria

The Legitimacy of EU Soft Law: journal article

Still Nothing New or a Turn for The Worse in the Field of State Aid?

Verena Rošic Feguš

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 1, Page 54 - 64

This article takes issue with the State aid soft law and its questionable legitimacy, transparency and compatibility with the rule of law. Although critics in this regard are almost ‘traditional’, the practice of adoption of EU soft law does not imply a conclusion that something is changing in this regard. What is more, the dimensions of the current pandemic seem to emphasize them. Recognising advantages of soft law and the existence of wide discretion of the European Commission this paper looks at the current state of affairs regarding EU soft law in EU State aid regime (and briefly also other EU policies), determines the gap between EU soft law and the rule of law and presupposes solutions that would improve EU soft law’s quality in the European integration. Keywords: legitimacy; EU soft law; soft law; rule of law; democratic safeguards; COVID-19 soft law