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Valencia Club de Fútbol: Every Advantage Has Its Disadvantage (and Vice Versa) · Case T-732/16 Valencia Club de Fútbol · Annotation by Doortje Ninck Blok and Gerard van der Wal journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the EU General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 12 March 2020 in Case T-732/16 Valencia Club de Fútbol

Doortje Ninck Blok, Gerard van der Wal

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 2, Page 284 - 291

The General Court handed down a judgement in 2020 in which it annulled the Commission’s Decision regarding State aid granted to Valencia Club de Fútbol through a €75 million (regional) government guarantee. The Commission qualified the guarantee granted by a financial entity under the supervision of the Regional Government of Valencia, intended to cover the bank loans to Fundación Valencia to enable Fundación Valencia to acquire shares in Valencia Club de Fútbol (the beneficiary according to the Commission and General Court), as unlawful state aid in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. This annotation elaborates on two pleas brought forward by Valencia Club de Fútbol: (i) manifest errors of assessment in the characterisation of an advantage and (ii) manifest errors of assessment when calculating the amount of aid. The General Court considered that the Commission made an error of assessment when applying the market economy operator principle, where the Commission did not carry out an overall assessment. Furthermore, the Commission did not sufficiently support the finding that there was no market price for a similar non-guaranteed loan. In their conclusion, the annotators address the application of the Guarantee Notice by the Commission.


Spanish Professional Football Clubs: How Salient Is the Exact Nature of the Aid? · Cases T-865/16 FC Barcelona v Commission, C-362/19 P Commission v FC Barcelona, T-791/16 Real Madrid CF v Commission, T-766/16 Hércules CF v Commission, T-732/16 Valencia journal article

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case T-865/16 FC Barcelona v Commission (GC, 26 February 2019), C-362/19 P Commission v FC Barcelona (CJEU, 4 March 2021), T-791/16 Real Madrid CF v Commission (GC, 22 May 2019), T-766/16 Hércules CF v Commission (GC, 20 March 2019), T-732/16 Valencia CF v Commission (GC, 12 March 2020), T-901/16 Elche CF v Commission (GC, 12 March 2020)

Jacob Kornbeck

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 1, Page 120 - 138

Five judgments handed down by the General Court (GC), in 2019-20, and by the Court of Justice, in 2021, have clarified aspects of three Commission State aid decisions regarding Spanish professional football clubs, through preferential tax rates applicable to non-profit organisations (Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Osasuna) and land transactions between municipal and regional authorities and private entities (Real Madrid) and financial guarantees offered by public authorities to private entities (Hércules CF, Valencia CF, Elche CF). Not only questions of substance were clarified but also procedural ones. Two GC rulings were appealed to the Court. The specificity of sport (Article 165 TFEU) does not appear to have been instrumental in shaping any of the judgments annotated.



The Spanish Hydroelectric Tax: Asymmetrical Taxation with Environmental Flavour · Joined Cases C-105/18 to C-113/18 UNESA · Annotation by Begoña Pérez Bernabeu journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 7 November 2019 in Joined Cases C-105/18 to C-113/18 UNESA

Begoña Pérez Bernabeu

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 352 - 358

The Spanish tax Canon por la utilización de aguas continentales para la producción de energía eléctrica -guided by a (called into question) environmental objective- taxes only a kind of electricity producers (hydroelectric producers using inland waters located in the territory of more than one autonomous community) on the basis on the environmental damage they cause employing the inland water. In contrast, hydroelectricity producers operating within river basins encompassing a single autonomous community, the rest of electricity producers whose source of electricity production is other than water (which are both direct competitors) and even all the installations which use water for purposes other than the production of hydroelectricity are not liable to the tax. The Spanish Supreme Court referred the matter to the Court of Justice on for a preliminary ruling. However, the Court of Justice conducted a misguided analysis of selectivity through the reference framework method and concluded the inexistence of selectivity and, hence, of State aid.




ARTICLES - STATE AID AND NATIONAL JURISDICTIONS ∙ Economic Penalties and Recovery of State Aid: Some Lessons from the Spanish Experience journal article

Miguel Sampol Pucurull

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 3, Page 431 - 438

The EU Treaties establish a system to ensure compliance of the judgments of the Court of Justice. In the area of State aid law the Court has already imposed some economic sanctions to Member States for failure to adopt the necessary measures to comply with a first judgment. In 2012 and 2014, the Spanish authorities had to adopt different measures in this area. Both cases arise different aspects concerning the recovery of State aid. The paper depicts some of the lessons and the difficulties of the implementation of both judgments. It reflects on the institutional aspects concerning the execution of Luxembourg decisions, on the role of the national judges and the public authorities which granted the aid when the implementation affects a beneficiary involved in an insolvency proceeding or on which tax scheme to apply to the beneficiary company when the previous scheme is declared illegal according to EU law. In the context of the recovery also the procedural rights and national remedies may have an effect on the compliance of EU law. Keywords: Penalty; Recovery; Spain; Magefesa; Basque Tax Incentives.


Commission and Kingdom of Spain v. Government of Gibraltar and United Kingdom  ∙ Joined cases C-106/09P and C 107/09P ∙ Annotation by Maarten Aalbers journal article

Maarten Aalbers

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 3, Page 495 - 499

The material selectivity test resembles a non–discrimination analysis, under which the Commission can assess whether undertakings, which operate under comparable legal and factual situations, are treated unequally by general measures. The Commission has to establish whether measures confer “an advantage of general application” and if so, whether this advantage effectively results in unequal treatment. This contribution, celebrating the 15th jubilee of ESTAL, highlights the effect-based approach of the Gibraltar-judgment, as was commentated by Rossi-Maccanico (EStAL 2012/2), and places developments in case law on the notion of material selectivity in the context of this landmark judgment. Keywords: Material Selectivity; Non-Discrimination; Gibraltar Case-Law; Effect-Based Approach.