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Madeira Free Trade Zone: New or Existing Aid? · Case T-131/21 Região Autónoma da Madeira v Commission · Annotation by Jorge Risueño journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Fifth Chamber) of 21 June 2023, in Case T-131/21 Região Autónoma da Madeira v European Commission.

Jorge Risueño

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 3, Page 337 - 342

This case note concerns Região Autónoma da Madeira’s (RAM) action for annulment of the Commission decision relating the aid scheme SA.21259 (2018/C) implemented by Portugal in favour of the free trade zone of Madeira.1 The General Court’s judgment presents a unique opportunity to analyse some key State aid concepts, including procedural aspects, such as the admissibility of infra-State bodies; concepts relating to the notion of State aid, such as the selectivity criterion; and concepts relating to the phase of recovery of unlawful aid, including the principles of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and proportionality and the limitation period. This note also addresses the Court’s assessment of whether aid is new or existing.

The Interplay between the European Commission, National Authorities and National Courts in State Aid Law: journal article

An Attempt to Cut the Gordian Knot

Ranjana Andrea Achleitner

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 2, Page 173 - 180

The interplay between the Commission, national courts and national authorities in the system of State aid enforcement poses a number of challenges and potential conflicts, which, in the end – as undoubtedly showcased by the Eesti Pagar judgment– also put the aid beneficiaries under great pressure in the context of the General Block Exemption Regulation. This article attempts to identify the most important problems and challenges related to the division of roles between the institutions in State aid law, with the intention of proposing solutions that provide legal certainty for relevant undertakings, the national authorities and national courts. The article also discusses the fact that despite the growing number of private enforcement litigation, the national courts have rarely concluded that unlawful aid was granted and rarely awarded remedies. The purpose of this paper is to provide proposals for more effective private enforcement. Finally, the article pays particular attention to the limited use of cooperation tools and suggests an update of these mechanisms. Keywords: private enforcement; eState-Wiki; GBER; standstill obligation; unlawful aid

KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen: Setting Out the Fundamentals on the Duty to Recover Illegally Granted State Aid · Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen · Annotation by Stig Eidissen journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice (Ninth Chamber) of 7 April 2022 in Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen

Stig Eidissen

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 4, Page 415 - 418

The preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 addressed the expiry date of a Commission decision to authorise aid, and the obligation of Member States to recover illegally granted State aid. The Court of Justice reiterated its previous case-law setting out the duty of public authorities to recover illegally granted State aid on their own initiative. The judgment sets out the fundamentals of both the Commission’s and national authorities’ duty to recover State aid granted in violation of the standstill obligation clearly and concisely. Perhaps more novel, the judgment holds that Member States may consider GBER exemptions to limit the recovery sum.

Recovery of Unlawful Aid in Case of Insolvency journal article

Stefania Bello, Germano Guglielmi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 4, Page 440 - 451

The provisions on State aid laid down by the TFEU aim at preventing that public intervention in the economy could affect trade and distort competition to an extent contrary to the common interest. To this end, the Commission may order Member States to recover State aid granted in breach of EU law. This article focuses in particular on the specific case of aid recovery from insolvent beneficiaries. The Commission has always taken a very rigorous approach on this matter, requiring the winding-up of the beneficiary and the exit from the market where it is not able to reimburse the total amount of the recovery, regardless of the circumstances of the case. The Recovery Notice adopted in 2019 confirmed the rigid position taken by the Commission towards insolvent beneficiaries. The main purposes of this article are, firstly, to assess the approach adopted by the Commission and, secondly, to investigate the existence of the possibility for the Member State to behave as a private creditor in recovering the unlawful aid, or to suspend the recovery procedure in order to examine a plan to relaunch the activities of the insolvent beneficiary. Keywords: Recovery Notice; unlawful aid; State aid recovery; insolvent beneficiaries

The Commission’s New Recovery Notice journal article

A Handbook for the Recovery of Unlawful and Incompatible Aid

Simone Donzelli

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 4, Page 528 - 539

In July 2019, following a public consultation, the European Commission adopted a new notice on the recovery of unlawful and incompatible aid, replacing the previous 2007 Notice. The new Recovery Notice represents the state of the art of the existing legislation and Case law about recovery policy. This article introduces the key topics of the Recovery Notice, from the general principles to infringement proceedings, passing through some crucial issues such as the identification of the beneficiaries, the quantification of the aid and recovery in the context of insolvency proceedings. Selected comments from the public consultation are also presented, analysed and discussed. The article, in line with the Recovery Notice, stresses the central role of cooperation between the Commission and the Member States to implement recovery Decisions and concludes that the Recovery Notice is a comprehensive tool to enforce State aid rules in line with the current regulatory framework and Case law of the Union Courts. Keywords: Recovery; Unlawful aid; Incompatible aid; Infringement; Insolvency.