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An Illustration of a Textbook Case or Rather of the Principle That the Devil Is in the Detail? · Cases T-607/17 Volotea, T-716/17 Germanwings and T-8/18 easyJet · Annotation by Marianne Clayton, Maria Segura and Lara Manuel Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgments of the General Court of the European Union (First Chamber) of 13 May 2020 in Cases T-607/17 Volotea v Commission, T-716/17 Germanwings v Commission and T-8/18 easyJet v Commission

Marianne Clayton, Maria Segura, Lara Manuel

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 3, Seite 372 - 377

On 13 May 2020, the General Court of the EU rendered three judgments on the actions brought by Volotea, easyJet and Germanwings seeking the annulment of Commission Decision SA.33983. In this Decision, the Commission had inter alia concluded that the aid scheme ‘Compensation to Sardinian airports for public service obligations’ entailed the grant of incompatible aid to several airlines that had concluded commercial agreements with airport operators for the development of the island as a tourist destination. The General Court analysed in these judgments each of the criteria of the notion of State aid on its own merits and provided particularly worth-noting reasoning on concepts such as imputability, indirect advantage, the application of the MEOP or the definition of aid scheme.


Progressive Turnover Taxes under the Prism of the State Aid Rules: Journal Artikel

Effective Tools to Tax High Financial Capacity or Inconsistent Tax Design Granting Selective Advantages?

Rita Szudoczky, Balázs Károlyi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 3, Seite 251 - 270

Turnover-based progressive taxes are increasingly popular among the Member States. However, these taxes raise concerns regarding their compatibility with the EU State aid rules. Although there are multiple State aid concerns that deserve attention depending on the actual design of such taxes, the core issue is whether the ability to pay principle can serve as a legitimate objective underpinning turnover taxes and thus justify the different treatment of high-turnover and low-turnover undertakings. This question requires the careful assessment of de facto selectivity because in the case of progressive turnover taxes potential selectivity could only arise from the general construct of the tax in the absence of a derogation from a reference system. This article proposes an alternative test for the de facto selectivity boiling down in essence to the examination of the consistency of the tax. Furthermore, it analyses digital turnover taxes for their consistency with their declared objectives. Finally, the article explores how the Court’s unnecessarily strict approach to the admissibility of State aid questions in preliminary ruling procedures when the main proceeding concerns an individual tax notice could be eased.


The Swedish Aviation Tax: Journal Artikel

Some Initial Comments from a State Aid Perspective

Yvette Lind

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 3, Seite 290 - 296

The article concerns the Swedish aviation tax which was introduced in 2018. A tax policy approach is applied to not only consider tax technicalities but also the ideals and goals of the tax from the perspective of the Swedish legislature. Resulting in an inclusion of not only legal aspects but also a consideration of how politics and economics influences the design of such a tax. The author concludes that there are several potential State aid problems with the present design of the tax, eg too low tax rates in order to fulfil its environmental policy objective, an exemption of transit and transfer passengers that distorts the competition between airlines and which is not justified or exempted from State aid rules. Keywords: aviation taxes, fiscal State aid, emission offsetting, carbon offset, polluter pays principle, Sweden


Common Interest as a Condition for State Aid Compatibility Journal Artikel

Stig Eidissen

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 4, Seite 452 - 463

According to long-standing Commission practice, State aid must aim at or contribute to an objective of common interest to qualify as compatible with the internal market. In the recent judgment Hinkley Point C, the Court of Justice rejected the pursuit of an objective of common interest as a condition for compatibility pursuant to Article 107(3)(c) TFEU. This article takes a closer look at the origin and content of the common interest condition. Further, it discusses whether the Hinkley judgment establishes a precedent to reject a common interest condition entirely, and the possible consequences of such a precedent for State aid law and policy going forward. Keywords: State aid; compatibility; compensatory justification; common interest; judicial review



Puzzles of the State Aid Rules on RDI Journal Artikel

Caroline Buts, Phedon Nicolaides, Hans Pirlet

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 18 (2019), Ausgabe 4, Seite 489 - 509

Despite the improvement of the State aid rules on Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) during the past decade, stakeholders have claimed that the current rules are at points ambiguous, which results in a negative impact on innovation. By means of an exploratory case study and participatory action research, this article aims to identify the ambiguities in the RDI rules. While the rules are detailed and overall well explained, we detect three themes where ambiguities arise, ie non-economic activities, price calculation of goods or services provided by research organisations, and ancillary activities of research organisations together with the 20% threshold. For each of these categories, we discuss what constitutes a ‘safe’ interpretation of the concepts involved. This entails an interpretation that is in line with the case law as well as with the spirit of State aid control. Where appropriate and possible, we provide examples as well as suggestions for their practical implementation. Next to providing guidance regarding the detected ambiguities, this article aspires a contribution to the forthcoming revision of the State aid rules for RDI. Keywords: State aid policy; Research, Development and Innovation; GBER; RDI Framework.


Special Charges, Free Movement and State Aid Journal Artikel

The Negative State Aid Approach

Guilherme Galdino

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 18 (2019), Ausgabe 4, Seite 510 - 518

Given that special charges have not been addressed properly, one intends to answer whether it is better to consider the aid as the non-imposition or the tax exemption, or as the tax itself. To address this issue, the cumulative application of free movement of rights and State aid rules is examined, mainly, in light of the possible consequences. Not only is the concept of negative State aid discussed, but also the legal reasoning and consequences appropriate to its application are analysed. The author argues that State aid rules should, by analogy, be applied to special charges, considering the tax itself the aid because: the selective analysis is maintained; it is possible to define an appropriate remedy; and it can be applied to situations involving also free movement rights. Keywords: Special Charges; Negative State aid; Asymmetrical taxes.