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Public Aid to Airports as a Compensation for the Provision of Services of General Economic Interest journal article

Michele Giannino, Federich Romby

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 338 - 352

The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the European Commission’s approach in assessing whether compensation awarded to airports for the provision of Services of General Economic Interest (SGEIs) complies with the EU State aid rules. The article analyses the defensive strategies open for national authorities to claim that airports public service compensation packages are compatible with the internal market. In that regard, the article considers the Altmark doctrine and the compatibility conditions for the application of the SGEI exception in Article 106 TFEU. Then it critically compares the strong and weak points of each of these strategies and also dwells on which factors national authorities have to adduce to prove the compatibility of airport aid. Bearing in mind the difficulties for national authorities to satisfy all the conditions for the application of the Altmark doctrine, the article suggests that the SGEI exception should be the optimal strategy to obtain regulatory clearance of public service compensation to airport.


State Aid in the Ports Sector: a Blessing or a Curse? journal article

Recent European Policy Initiatives and Measures from a Dutch Perspective.

Sarah Beeston, Pim Jansen, Kiek Brink

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 328 - 337

The European Commission sees the ports sector as a driving force for economic growth and regional development in Europe. It has recently developed various policy initiatives in this sector and taken measures whereby State aid control forms the key element. The Commission has opted for an approach based on two interlinked pillars. First, the Commission intends to create a (more) level playing field among European Union Member States, by using State aid rules to curb tax benefits for (public) companies in the ports sector. Second, further to the State Aid Modernisation Programme, the Commission is, to an increasing extent, pursuing an active European economic policy in the ports sector by means of exemptions from the prohibition of State aid. As a result, certain aid measures targeting market failures and objectives of a common European interest are permissible. In this article we will provide an analysis of recent developments and place them in their legal and policy-related context. We will specifically discuss the impact of these developments on seaports in the Netherlands.


Is there a Need for a New Concept of ‘Ex-ante Creditor’? journal article

Consequences of the FIH Holdings Judgment

Phedon Nicolaides

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 368 - 374

The amount of State aid in a loan or guarantee is not necessarily equal to the principal of the loan or the guaranteed amount. Moreover, the liability of the State and the risk borne by the State depend on the rights or collateral that the State secures before it grants a loan or guarantee. For this reason, State aid law needs a third concept to describe the behaviour of the State apart from that of ‘public authority’ or ‘private investor’. That third concept is labelled here as ‘ex-ante creditor’. It applies to those sums over which the State can exercise a claim without expecting ex-ante to receive a profit. Past loans or guarantees that contain State aid should be ignored, as prescribed by the Court of Justice, only when the State has no prospect of recovering any amount that is due to it or when it has no claim to exercise against the borrower who is the aid recipient. Keywords: Private investor; Private creditor; Loans; Guarantees; Past State aid.


Monitoring of State Aid journal article

From Ex Ante to Ex Post Control

María Muñoz de Juan

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 4, Page 483 - 493

Ex post monitoring is a counterpart of the State aid decentralisation process and, as such, is a cornerstone of the current State aid control system. The application of State aid rules is being increasingly decentralised thanks to the significant use of the block exemption Regulations by the Member States. However, this does not mean that the Commission is giving up its powers and obligations under the Treaty. On the contrary, it closely follows — through ex post controls — how State aid measures are implemented by the Member States. This Commission-level monitoring exercise aims to correct the detected irregularities both for the past and for the future and helps to improve State aid rules. It has a measurable deterrent effect. Keywords: State aid; enforcement; monitoring; ex post control; SAM; decentralisation; block exemption regulation.