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The National State Aid Register - Italy’s Experience Journal Artikel

Gaetano Maria Giovanni Reale

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 23 (2024), Ausgabe 1, Seite 15 - 21

The Italian State aid register is a central and unique database for all aid granted by national authorities. It is a powerful tool that allows the public to track in real-time the aid granted by different authorities to various beneficiaries on a legal basis. Competitors can use the register data to verify if their rivals have been granted aid, the number of aids received and if these aids have been granted legally. This makes the register a valuable resource for legal actions. The register data can also be used for policy analysis and to help improve policy design. Some research institutes have already started to utilise the data provided by the register for these purposes. This article looks at Italy's experience in implementing a State aid register, to serve as a guide for other Member States. Keywords: Italy; Transparency; National State Aid Register; GBER



Belgian Courts and the Enforcement of EU State Aid Law: Journal Artikel

Towards a Regulatory Framework?

Wout De Cock

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 1, Seite 69 - 77

It is well-established that national courts play a crucial role in terms of enforcement of EU State aid law. However, it also well-known that this role is undervelopped in many EU Member States. For example, Belgian State aid courts face all sorts of uncertainties and difficulties when enforcing EU State aid law. This contribution therefore argues that the Belgian State should take (regulatory) measures to ensure that Belgian courts can enforce EU State aid law. Kyewords: Belgian courts; enforcement; standstill obligation; unlawful State aid; obstacles and uncertainties; regulatory framework


Petra Flašker and the Notion of Doubts in the Context of Preliminary Investigations of Both New and Existing Measures · Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission · Annotation by Marianne Clayton, Gaétan Roelants du Vivier and Matthieu Jamart Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 27 April 2022 in Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission

Marianne Clayton, Gaétan Roelants du Vivier, Matthieu Jamart

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 1, Seite 89 - 94

The judgment of the General Court in Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission addresses the procedural concept of serious difficulties and the scope of the Commission’s obligation, when investigating complaints, to carry out a thorough examination beyond the mere information provided by the complainants and the national authorities which is also applicable in the context of existing aid. In particular, the General Court reaffirmed the Commission’s responsibility to conduct a proper investigation when faced with serious allegations and insisted that the Commission cannot rely on the fact that the complaint may not be sufficiently substantiated as an argument for dismissing it. More novel, the General Court noted that the Commission had disregarded the existing procedural rules by adopting a decision finding that, assuming that a measure constitutes aid, it amounts to existing aid, but unfortunately did not draw any further conclusions.


Incentive Effect of State Aid: Journal Artikel

Necessity and Counterfactual

Phedon Nicolaides

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 2, Seite 132 - 149

A fundamental criterion of the compatibility of State aid with the internal market is the presence of incentive effect. State aid must be able to change the behaviour of the recipient undertakings. The purpose of this article is threefold. First, it reviews recent case law and Commission decisions on the presence or absence of incentive effect. Second, it argues that this simple, yet fundamental criterion of compatibility suffers from a serious weakness. Third, it proposes an alternative method for establishing the existence of an incentive effect. Even when the aid is granted before the start of work, it does not necessarily follow that it induces the recipient to do something extra. A savvy company that knows how State aid rules work can adjust its investment plans in such a way as to qualify for aid, even when it does not really need it. Therefore, the new approach proposed in this article goes beyond the current test of the existence of incentive effect, asking not just whether a specific investment or project would not be carried out without the aid, but also whether the project is ‘discretionary’, in the sense that it is not indispensable for the continued operation of the recipient company. Keywords: incentive effect; necessity of State aid; indispensable expenditure; discretionary expenditure


Covid-19 and the State Aid Regimes Established by the Western Balkan Countries Journal Artikel

Anduena Gjevori

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 2, Seite 161 - 174

Since the adoption of the first State aid law by North Macedonia, the Western Balkan (WB) countries have shown – to a certain degree – the willpower to approximate the laws adopted in the field of State aid with the EU State aid acquis. However, the first State aid commissions closely linked to the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Economy had an essential weakness in their institutional structure. This article aims to establish a connection between the chosen types of State aid regulators in the WB and their operability during the transposition and enforcement of the Temporary Framework for Covid-19 outbreak. In this framework, the article examines the transposition of the Temporary Framework of March 2020 into the national legislations of the WB countries. Moreover, it analyses selected decisions granting Covid-19 State aid, comparing them with the Temporary Framework. Only two out of six countries of the WB, under analysis, (partially) transposed the Temporary Framework. The Covid-19 State aid has been mostly retroactively approved and has, in some cases, been implemented without being assessed by the relevant State aid authorities. Even in the few cases that have been notified, Covid-19 State aid has been granted in contradiction with the Temporary Framework. Additionally, the few decisions imposing conditions for Covid-19 State aid have not been implemented by the appropriate public authorities. Keywords: EU candidate countries; State aid monitoring authorities; Temporary Framework; Covid-19



‘Naked Economic Nationalism’ · Case T-111/21 Croatia Airlines - COVID-19 · Annotation by Marijana Liszt Journal Artikel

Annotation of the Judgment of the General Court of 9 November 2022 in Case T-111/21 Croatia Airlines - COVID-19

Marijana Liszt

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 2, Seite 199 - 204

This case note concerns one of many European Commission decisions approving State aid as damage compensation to airlines due to extraordinary occurrences (COVID-19 outbreak), on the basis of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, considered to be an ‘automatic exemption’, meaning that the discretionary powers of the Commission are confined to verifying the fulfilment of the required conditions. This Commission decision has been challenged by the tireless Ryanair DAC, which has been challenging many State aid measures granted to airlines by the Member states simultaneously, on the basis of Article 107(2)(b) TFEU as well as other applicable grounds (Article 107(3)(b); the COVID-19 Temporary Framework). This judgment has been chosen as it refers to Croatia Airlines, the Croatian national air carrier, presenting the first ever General Court decision referring to State aid granted to a Croatian undertaking by the Republic of Croatia. The case raises several peculiar legal questions concerning the notions of discrimination and the difference in treatment. It is also worth mentioning the Court’s argument regarding Croatia Airlines’ essential role in Croatia’s air transport connectivity.


Covid State Aid Policy for Aviation Backfired · Joined cases T-34/21 and T-87/21 Ryanair and Condor v Commission (Lufthansa; COVID-19) · Annotation by Tania Pantazi Journal Artikel

Annotation of the Judgment of the General Court of 10 May 2023 in Joined cases T-34/21 and T-87/21 Ryanair and Condor v Commission (Lufthansa; COVID-19)

Tania Pantazi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 4, Seite 414 - 419

State aid to European airlines during the Covid-19 crisis has been the object of several judgments of the General Court since 2021. This case marks a turn in previous case law, as it annuls the approval of the Commission for multiple reasons of substance relating to misapplication of the Covid State Aid Temporary Framework. The measure at issue was a recapitalisation scheme for one of Europe’s largest airline groups, Deutsche Lufthansa. The decision may affect other pending cases on measures for European airlines.