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A New Boost to National Recovery? · Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar · Annotation by Svein Terje Tveit journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 5 March 2019 in Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar AS v Ettevõtluse Arendamise Sihtasutus, Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium.

Svein Terje Tveit

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 2, Page 186 - 191

On 5 March 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJ) issued an important ruling clarifying the scope of the national authorities’ obligation to recover unlawful State aid and the test for ‘incentive effect’ — a requirement for an aid measure to benefit from the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). The CJ confirms that national authorities must recover unlawful State aid also in cases where the aid is granted (wrongfully) under the GBER as regional investment aid and the Commission has not adopted any Decision. The aid beneficiary may not rely on the principle of protection of legitimate expectations even if the granting authority had recommended the aid beneficiary to apply for aid knowing that work on the project had begun before the aid application was submitted. In cases where the EU rules on limitation period and interests are not directly applicable, national rules apply, so that the national authorities must seek full recovery of the unlawful aid and thereby ensure the effectiveness of State aid rules. Keywords: GBER; Recovery; National enforcement; Unlawful aid; National legal basis.


The Commission’s New Recovery Notice journal article

A Handbook for the Recovery of Unlawful and Incompatible Aid

Simone Donzelli

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 4, Page 528 - 539

In July 2019, following a public consultation, the European Commission adopted a new notice on the recovery of unlawful and incompatible aid, replacing the previous 2007 Notice. The new Recovery Notice represents the state of the art of the existing legislation and Case law about recovery policy. This article introduces the key topics of the Recovery Notice, from the general principles to infringement proceedings, passing through some crucial issues such as the identification of the beneficiaries, the quantification of the aid and recovery in the context of insolvency proceedings. Selected comments from the public consultation are also presented, analysed and discussed. The article, in line with the Recovery Notice, stresses the central role of cooperation between the Commission and the Member States to implement recovery Decisions and concludes that the Recovery Notice is a comprehensive tool to enforce State aid rules in line with the current regulatory framework and Case law of the Union Courts. Keywords: Recovery; Unlawful aid; Incompatible aid; Infringement; Insolvency.


The Individual Identification of Beneficiaries of State Aid and the Financing Mechanism · Case C-505/18 Copebi SCA v Établissement national des produits de l’agriculture et de la mer · Annotation by Federica Maldari journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice (Fifth Chamber) of 13 June 2019 in Case C-505/18 Copebi SCA v Établissement national des produits de l’agriculture et de la mer.

Federica Maldari

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 4, Page 567 - 570

The Case deals with a legal dispute concerning the recovery of unlawful State aid in the fruit and vegetable sector under a Decision of the European Commission (EC), between Copebi SCA, one of the beneficiaries of the involved funds, and the French Republic. The dispute concerns the scope of the Decision of the EC, in so far as Copebi considered that the funds used were not covered by the Decision, which did not specifically mention the economic committee which paid them to Copebi. The beneficiary also argued the measure could not be covered by the Decision, since the financing mechanism of the funds was different from that described in it. The issues were referred to the Court of Justice (CJ) for a preliminary ruling, which concluded that the Decision must be interpreted as covering the funds paid to Copebi despite the fact that it didn’t mention the grantor of funds nor exact financing mechanism. Keywords: Recovery order; Contingency plans; Scope of Decision; Identification; Financing mechanism.






United Textiles: A Missed Opportunity  ∙ Case C-363/16 European Commission v Greece ∙ Annotation  by Wout De Cock and Julie Leroy journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (First Chamber) of 17 January 2018 in Case C-363/16 European Commission v Greece

Wout De Cock, Julie Leroy

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 2, Page 298 - 304

It is well established that the financial situation of an (insolvent) aid beneficiary does not lead, in principle, to an absolute impossibility to recover unlawful and incompatible State aid. In the annotated case, a Member State argued that it should be entitled to suspend the insolvency proceedings in order to examine the possible relaunch of the insolvent beneficiary’s activities. In this annotation, we discuss the findings of the European Court of Justice with regard to this question and argue that the Court’s findings remain vague and unclear. Furthermore, we discuss the relevant date to assess the failure to recover aid from an insolvent beneficiary and the duty of loyal cooperation between Member States and the Commission. In general, it is argued that the judgment is, in contrast to (parts of) the Opinion of the Advocate General, a mere confirmation of former case law and somewhat disappointing.Keywords: Recovery of unlawful State aid; Financial situation (insolvent) beneficiary; Possibility to suspend recovery proceedings and relaunch activities - Article 108(2)(2) TFEU; Date for assessing failure to recover; Duty of loyal cooperation