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The European Green Deal and State Aid: journal article

Regions, State Aid and the Just Transition

Steven Verschuur, Cecilia Sbrolli

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 1, Page 41 - 50

The European Green Deal is the prelude and the foundation of a daunting, but necessary, environmental-centric industrial revolution. EU legislation has obviously dealt with environmental policies in the past, but the European Green Deal is a far-reaching project that will require unprecedented investments. The transition envisioned in the European Green Deal will also require amendments to a wide variety of existing EU legislation and policies, including in the field of State aid. The guidelines on regional State aid (2014 Regional Guidelines), in force until the end of 2021, constitute the legal framework in force to assess Regional State aid. The European Commission has already published draft Guidelines to replace the 2014 Guidelines (Draft Regional Guidelines) to bring the text in line with the European Green Deal. This paper is the second of a series that will discuss the interplay between existing State aid rules and policy on the one hand and the European Green Deal on the other. The first article provided an introduction to the European Green Deal and its interaction with the guidelines for State aid for environmental protection and energy (EEAG). This second article will focus on the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) and its interplay with the Draft Regional Guidelines. Keywords: European Green Deal; regional State aid; Just Transition; outermost territories; financing the transition


East Wind, West Wind: journal article

An Analysis of the Differences in State Aid Allocations Between Old and New Member States

Marco Schito

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 2, Page 200 - 216

Scholars have long wondered whether, following the increasing degree of institutionalisation of State aid control, State aid policies are converging towards a common European model. The issue of convergence has come to the forefront in particular following the Eastern enlargement, which welcomed several countries with a very different historical legacy. The present article thus looks at the differences in State aid allocations between old and new Member States to understand whether, in the over fifteen years since the enlargement, such differences have been overcome. By means of statistical analysis, it argues that differences in aid levels between the two blocs persist both in terms of overall allocations and in expenditures by objectives. Drawing from the literature on comparative political economy, it further explores a potential explanation as to why intra-bloc differences among Central Eastern European countries also continue to this day. Keywords: Central Eastern European Countries; CEEC; comparative capitalism; statistical analysis; State aid politics.





The Design of Enforcement Institutions: journal article

Lessons from the UK’s New State Aid Control Regime

Phedon Nicolaides

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 3, Page 370 - 383

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union it has to substitute the EU system of State aid control with its own system for the control of subsidies. Brexiters have argued that this presents a unique opportunity to the UK to design a system that is less cumbersome and more effective than that of the EU. This article examines how the draft Subsidy Control Bill intends to address the three problems of the design of institutions responsible for the control of State aid or subsidies; ie the problems of discovery, assessment and enforcement. If finds that, by comparison to the EU system, the proposed UK system seems to grant more leeway to public authorities and to impose fewer formal requirements but also to require assessment of most subsidies by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). At the same time, the greater leeway creates more uncertainty about the conformity of subsidies with the various principles laid down in the Subsidy Control Bill. The Bill also leaves several issues unclear, especially with regard to the status of subsidies which are not referred to the CMA or subsidies which are granted contrary to CMA recommendations. The powers of the CMA are certainly more limited than those of the Commission. Keywords: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement; UK Subsidy Control Bill; State aid regime; Competition and Markets Authority; Competition Appeal Tribunal.


2ND ESTAL PHD AWARD NOMINATIONS ∙ Recovery of Unlawful Fiscal State Aid in Belgium journal article

Julie Leroy

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 3, Page 325 - 336

This article, like my PhD thesis on which it is based, focuses on the recovery of unlawful fiscal State aid in Belgium. Currently, Belgium has no general legal framework for recovery procedures: neither for non-fiscal, nor for fiscal State aid. To the contrary, for the recovery of fiscal State aid, ad hoc-legislation was adopted in the past. On the one hand, the research evaluates if there is a need for a new legal framework for the recovery of unlawful fiscal State aid in Belgium, in the execution of a recovery decision from the European Commission. In order to make this evaluation, the existing ‘tax law route’ and ‘civil law route’ for fiscal recovery procedures are charted. Those routes are tested against ten evaluation criteria, which are deducted from EU law and national law. This evaluation clearly shows that there is a need for a new legal framework for the recovery of unlawful fiscal State aid in Belgium. Consequently, on the other hand, this research makes recommendations regarding the content and design of the new proposed framework. It is, amongst others, recommended to adopt general legislation that applies to all future fiscal recovery procedures in Belgium. Despite its focus on Belgium, several aspects of the research are also interesting for other EU Member States. Keywords: EStAL PhD Award; PhD research; recovery of unlawful (fiscal) State aid; Belgium; current framework; recommendations for new framework.


2ND ESTAL PHD AWARD NOMINATIONS ∙ Minimisation of the Expected Cost of Error in EU State Aid Enforcement journal article

Anna Nowak-Salles

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 3, Page 359 - 369

This article, based on a thesis defended at the European University Institute in October 2020, pursues a twofold aim: first, to apply the error framework, which is an economic analysis tool used in competition law, to State aid, and to discover what determines the expected cost of error in this area. Second, to reflect on whether this expected cost might be reduced and to provide ideas where improvements might be sought. For this purpose, it verifies whether errors in State aid assessment at the Commission and the national level are rare, cheap and effectively corrected. On the basis of this analysis, which constitutes an original assessment of the reform of Procedural Regulation and of the GBER, it draws useful conclusions and formulates some recommendations as to how to increase accuracy at a reasonable cost. Keywords: State aid procedure; error in assessment; notification procedure; GBER.


The Objectivity of the Concept of Presumed State Aid and The Problem of Deficient Circumstantial Interpretation journal article

Carina Barbosa Gouvêa, Pedro Hermílio Villas Bôas Castelo Branco

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 1, Page 39 - 43

In its judgment in Case T-791/16 Real Madrid Club de Fútbol v European Commission, the Court of Justice annulled the Commission Decision on aid measure SA.33754. The judgment allowed the rekindling, from the perspective of political science, of the discussions surrounding what represents the semantic definition of State aid, granted by the States or coming from State resources. The innovation brought by the European Commission was to establish a new subcategory for the term - presumed State aid. We discuss whether this type of aid can be fitted into the control by and decisional standards of the European Commission from a purely objective standpoint. The judgment leads us to reflect on the role played by the Commission regarding the evolution of the concept of State aid. However, this evolution, as an update of the directions of Article 107(1) TFEU, must take into consideration a methodology that necessarily goes through a path aimed at the market analysis based on the economic and social context of the State in question. The answer must be in accordance with the objectives and purposes of Community law and this does not represent a literal exegesis of the legal text. Keywords: Presumed State aid; Circumstantial interpretation; Objective and subjective concept of aid.