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The National State Aid Register - Italy’s Experience Journal Artikel

Gaetano Maria Giovanni Reale

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 23 (2024), Ausgabe 1, Seite 15 - 21

The Italian State aid register is a central and unique database for all aid granted by national authorities. It is a powerful tool that allows the public to track in real-time the aid granted by different authorities to various beneficiaries on a legal basis. Competitors can use the register data to verify if their rivals have been granted aid, the number of aids received and if these aids have been granted legally. This makes the register a valuable resource for legal actions. The register data can also be used for policy analysis and to help improve policy design. Some research institutes have already started to utilise the data provided by the register for these purposes. This article looks at Italy's experience in implementing a State aid register, to serve as a guide for other Member States. Keywords: Italy; Transparency; National State Aid Register; GBER

State-aid Compliant Equity Risk Finance Measures under the GBER Journal Artikel

A Witch’s Brew?

Florin Dascalescu

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 23 (2024), Ausgabe 2, Seite 151 - 165

The current General Block Exemption Regulation 651/2014 (GBER) is of a crucial importance in the State aid architecture since Member States do not need to notify their aid measures to the European Commission if such measures satisfy the GBER conditions. The GBER has been amended several times, most recently in June 2023 via Regulation 1315/2023 under the generic name of the “Green Deal GBER amendment”, being extended until end-2026. This paper examines the GBER requirements in respect of equity risk finance measures and outlines the main modifications brought in via the last amendment, in particular as regards equity instruments under articles 21 (risk finance measures in favour of SMEs), new 21a (tax incentives for natural persons that may act as private investors) and 22 (aid for start-ups). The central analysis is focused on article 21 and the State aid requirements for equity instruments under the GBER. My analysis shows that in private equity-type aid measures there are several layers of complexity, which means the design of such GBER-compliant measures falls to sophisticated experts rather than the usual stakeholders (national authorities, fund managers, eligible undertakings). This article will examine the complexities in the structure of the GBER requirements (general and specific), the definition of the relevant notions, the intermediated finance model and the minimum participation of private independent investors. Finally, this paper proposes some solutions in order to facilitate the implementation of equity risk finance measures under the GBER, especially when funded from EU budget allocations to Member States. Keywords: GBER, risk finance measures, financial instruments, private equity.

Incentive Effect of Subsidies: Empirical Research Presented Journal Artikel

Pieter Wesselius

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 23 (2024), Ausgabe 2, Seite 143 - 150

Incentive effect is crucial in ensuring a proper allocation of State resources to undertakings and thereby achieving important policy objectives. However, it is uncertain to what extent undertakings applying for subsidies actually require the subsidy to initiate the project. This article presents empirical evidence on the incentive effect of research and development subsidies to small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Northern-Netherlands, along with recommendations to increase the incentive effect of subsidies. Whereas it currently is enough for an undertaking to simply refrain from initiating a project before applying for the subsidy, I advocate for the undertaking to have a more pro-active role: it should argue why the subsidy is necessary for the initiation of the project. Keywords: Incentive effect; General Block Exemptions Regulation; De minimis Regulation

Case C-11/22 Est Wind Power OÜ v Elering AS · Annotation by Militsa Kostova Journal Artikel

Annotation of the Court of Justice of the European Union (First Chamber) of 12 October 2023 in Case C-11/22 Est Wind Power OÜ v AS Elering

Militsa Kostova

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 23 (2024), Ausgabe 2, Seite 200 - 205

The ‘start of works’ criterion as an obstacle to the fulfilment of the formal incentive effect and use of the GBER, has received little attention in academic writing. At the same time, it has created a lot of headaches on the ground - for both practitioners and national authorities. The bar for works to start is traditionally considered rather low, particularly after Eesti Pagar. Surprisingly, a new judgment about something else entirely may cautiously blow the winds in a new direction, including for the formal incentive effect criterion.

The Art of Change Management – How To Deal with the Incentive Effect in Turbulent Times Journal Artikel

Stefan Akira Jarecki, Kamil Ciupak

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 4, Seite 389 - 403

The incentive effect is one of the most critical conditions for the compatibility of State aid with the EU internal market. The incentive effect means that State aid should not be granted for activities in which the beneficiary would, in any case, engage even in the absence of the State aid. If a beneficiary has decided to start a given activity receiving State aid under certain conditions, these conditions should not be changed - especially the amount of the State aid. However, we are living in turbulent times. Europe's economy was hit by the COVID pandemic outbreak, then by the war in Ukraine. All European countries have experienced a drastic price increase and are struggling with high inflation. The policy of the European Green Deal had led to drastic technological change. Many beneficiaries must buy energy and products from sources that were note initially planned. In this situation, the prohibition of changing the conditions of State aid that has already been granted may turn the incentive effect into the ‘disincentive effect’. In this article, we consider how this problem can be avoided. Keywords: incentive effect, GBER, de minimis

The Interplay between the European Commission, National Authorities and National Courts in State Aid Law: Journal Artikel

An Attempt to Cut the Gordian Knot

Ranjana Andrea Achleitner

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 21 (2022), Ausgabe 2, Seite 173 - 180

The interplay between the Commission, national courts and national authorities in the system of State aid enforcement poses a number of challenges and potential conflicts, which, in the end – as undoubtedly showcased by the Eesti Pagar judgment– also put the aid beneficiaries under great pressure in the context of the General Block Exemption Regulation. This article attempts to identify the most important problems and challenges related to the division of roles between the institutions in State aid law, with the intention of proposing solutions that provide legal certainty for relevant undertakings, the national authorities and national courts. The article also discusses the fact that despite the growing number of private enforcement litigation, the national courts have rarely concluded that unlawful aid was granted and rarely awarded remedies. The purpose of this paper is to provide proposals for more effective private enforcement. Finally, the article pays particular attention to the limited use of cooperation tools and suggests an update of these mechanisms. Keywords: private enforcement; eState-Wiki; GBER; standstill obligation; unlawful aid