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United Textiles: A Missed Opportunity  ∙ Case C-363/16 European Commission v Greece ∙ Annotation  by Wout De Cock and Julie Leroy journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (First Chamber) of 17 January 2018 in Case C-363/16 European Commission v Greece

Wout De Cock, Julie Leroy

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 2, Page 298 - 304

It is well established that the financial situation of an (insolvent) aid beneficiary does not lead, in principle, to an absolute impossibility to recover unlawful and incompatible State aid. In the annotated case, a Member State argued that it should be entitled to suspend the insolvency proceedings in order to examine the possible relaunch of the insolvent beneficiary’s activities. In this annotation, we discuss the findings of the European Court of Justice with regard to this question and argue that the Court’s findings remain vague and unclear. Furthermore, we discuss the relevant date to assess the failure to recover aid from an insolvent beneficiary and the duty of loyal cooperation between Member States and the Commission. In general, it is argued that the judgment is, in contrast to (parts of) the Opinion of the Advocate General, a mere confirmation of former case law and somewhat disappointing.Keywords: Recovery of unlawful State aid; Financial situation (insolvent) beneficiary; Possibility to suspend recovery proceedings and relaunch activities - Article 108(2)(2) TFEU; Date for assessing failure to recover; Duty of loyal cooperation


Passing-On and Recoverable Unlawful State Aid under European Union Law journal article

Édouard Louis Jean-Baptiste Bruc

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 1, Page 54 - 65

The willingness to encourage private parties to seek compensation has emphasised the necessity to push forward economic analysis regarding antitrust cases. The question concerning a passing-on defence thus entered the sphere of public enforcement of EU State aid law via a judgment which highlighted the possibility to take a passing-on defence regarding the ‘undercharge’ passed on to the consumer through the entrustment (lowering prices). However, the ECJ quashed the judgment, preferring a more deterrent approach, implicitly stressing that it can only be a‘Pyrrhic victory’ because it would require predictions as regards the behaviour of the benefiting undertaking and its results. In the author’s view, this rollover is an opportunity to underline the difference between public and private enforcement aims, and to understand the role of private enforcement under State aid law which in fact requires a passing-on analysis. Keywords: Passing-on, Private Enforcement; Unlawful State aid; Recovery.

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