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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.

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

2ND ESTAL PHD AWARD NOMINATIONS ∙ Soft Law and Their Symbiotic Relationship with the Block Exemptions? journal article

A Nordic Perspective

Katrine Lillerud

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 3, Page 337 - 358

This article provides an overview of the position of quasi-legislative measures also referred to as ‘soft law’ before and after the State aid Modernisation (SAM). The main intention of the article is to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the revised horizontal and sectorial guidelines with the general block exemption regulation (GBER) after SAM. It demonstrates how a selected handful of horizontal and sectorial guidelines have been transformed to facilitate better use of the block exemption to enhance the Commission’s own policy objectives, in a nice hand in glove fit with the GBER to nudge States into block exempted expenditure. The empirical study compares Norway, Sweden and Finland’s use of the GBER and guidelines. It shows that the framework is now more than ever nudging aid expenditure. The micro study reveals a drastic change in use before and after SAM in the three Nordic countries – underling the nudging power of the reform. Keywords: EStAL PhD Award; soft law; guidelines; GBER; horizontal; SAM; nudging; Nordics.

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