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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.



ICSID Trumps State Aid in the UK but Uncertainty Remains Regarding Enforcement of New York Convention Awards in post-Brexit UK journal article

Ana Stanič

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 165 - 171

On 19 February 2020, the UK Supreme Court unanimously held that by virtue of Article 351 TFEU UK’s obligations under the ICSID Convention trump its duty of sincere co-operation under Article 4(3) TFEU to give effect to a State aid decision of the European Commission. In doing so, the UK Supreme Court also made clear that ICSID arbitral awards rendered by arbitral tribunals established pursuant to intra-EU BITs and ECT will be enforced in the UK. Whether in post-Brexit UK enforcement of intra-EU BITs and ECT arbitral awards will be refused on the grounds of being contrary to EU State aid law if sought pursuant to the terms of the New York Convention remains unclear given that State aid currently forms part of the on-going negotiations between the UK and EU regarding their future relations. Keywords: Micula, State aid, ISDS, Achmea, duty of sincere cooperation, public policy


Nürburgring: Limited Scope to Challenge the Competitive Purchase of Assets That Have Received Aid · Cases T-353/15 NeXovation/European Commission and T-373/15 Ja zum Nürburgring/European Commission · Annotation by Irene Moreno-Tapia Rivas and Victoria Riv journal article

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court (First Chamber, Extended Composition) of 19 June 2019 in Cases T-353/15 NeXovation/ European Commission and T-373/15 Ja zum Nürburgring/European Commission

Irene Moreno-Tapia, Victoria Rivas Santiago

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 220 - 224

Almost a century after the construction of the German racing circuit Nürburgring, economic problems obliged the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate to finance a luxury complex around the race track with the purpose to save the park in economics terms. However, after having received a complaint, the European Commission started an investigation procedure which ended with a Decision on the State aid implemented by Germany for Nürburgring. In the meantime, the Nürburgring assets were sold through a tender process managed by the German Government under the rules agreed with the European Commission and the administrators of the assets. The Commission Decision determined that the measures in favour of the owners of Nürburgring were unlawful and incompatible with the European market rules; in addition, the European Commission decided, first, that any potential recovery of the aid would not concern the buyer of the assets; and, second, that the sale of the assets in the framework of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender process did not constitute State aid. The General Court upheld the Decision. Both judgments, T-353/15 and T-373/15 are currently appealed by both complainants before the Court of Justice.


The SURE Initiative, Short-time Work Compensation, and State Aid journal article

Hans Arno Petzold

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Page 161 - 164

The European Commission has put forward a proposal for a Council regulation aimed at ‘temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) following the COVID-19 outbreak’. This is not the place to discuss political or financial implications of the idea of a Basic European Unemployment Insurance. But it gives the opportunity to have a look at options for short-time work compensation, based on a case study of the German model, and the State aid relevance of such compensation. Keywords: COVID-19, SURE Initiative, short-time work Ccmpensation, State aid, selectivity, Germany




Brexit, the EEA and the EU State aid Rules journal article open-access

The Future of State aid Control in Turmoil?

Maria Segura, Egill Olafsson, Marianne Clayton

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 1, Page 3 - 14

One of the many and still unresolved questions raised by the discussions surrounding Brexit is that of its implications on State aid rules. The consequences for the UK and for both the EU and the European Economic Area are still unknown. The options are diverse and still open to much speculation. In this article, we will focus on the EEA model. Because it is not that well-known, the scope of the EEA agreement and the way it functions will firstly be presented. Indeed, some specificities of the EEA framework, amongst which the principle of homogeneity, deserve explanations as a cornerstone for the application of State aid rules within the EU and the EEA. Finally, the actual different options regarding State aid control post-Brexit within the UK, EU and EEA will be discussed. To conclude, attention will be devoted to the concerns regarding the continuation of the EEA Agreement as it stands and the future homogeneous application of State aid rules. Keywords: State aid control; Brexit; Homogeneity principle.


Previous State aid and Subsequent Financial Assistance journal article

The FIH Judgment and the Future of the MEOP

Jan Bonhage

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 1, Page 29 - 36

Taking into account previous State aid in the MEOP assessment requires an in-depth analysis of the specifics of the individual case. The mere fact that economic interests derive from previous State aid does not rule out their relevance in the assessment of the economic rationality of further financial measures. State aid aims at a comprehensive analysis of all relevant factors at the time of the funding decision. Both the purpose of the MEOP and previous European case law support such comprehensive substantive approach in the MEOP State aid assessment of subsequent financial measures. In light of the rationale of the MEOP and previous decisions, the CJEU’s rather formal approach in the FIH case is not convincing. The comprehensive substantive approach of ING Groep, also concerning the relevance of previous State aid in the assessment of subsequent public measures, more adequately reflects all aspects that a private investor would take into account in a comparable situation. Keywords: FIH; ING Groep; Land Burgenland; MEOP; previous State aid; subsequent financial measures; substantive approach; comprehensive assessment; formal approach; public authority.


Port of Izola: An Appreciable Twist in State Aid Law? · Case T-728/17 Marinvest-Porting · Annotation by Edwin Schotanus journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Second Chamber) of 14 May 2019 in Case T-728/17 Marinvest d.o.o. and Porting d.o.o. v European Commission

Edwin Schotanus

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 3, Page 359 - 365

Under the Case law of the Court of Justice (CJ), aid measures are very quickly considered to affect competition and trade between Member States (inter-State trade). Nonetheless, in certain clear, specific situations, this will not seem to be the case. The European Commission is constantly seeking ways to dispose of such issues fast, in order to focus on more harmful types of State aid. This pragmatic approach by the Commission is at odds with the CJ’s principled application of the criteria ‘effect on competition’ and ‘effect on inter‑State trade’, and may sometimes result in inconsistent Decisions. Legal certainty would be furthered by a CJ ruling about the Commission’s pragmatic approach. Keywords: effect on inter-State trade; effect on competition; appreciability; State aid.