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Update on the Autostrada Wielkopolska S.A. Case · Case C-933/19 P Autostrada Wielkopolska S.A. · Annotation by Marek Rzotkiewicz journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice of 11 November 2021 (Second Chamber) in Case C-933/19 P Autostrada Wielkopolska S.A. v European Commission

Marek Rzotkiewicz

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 3, Page 310 - 315

In cases before the EU Courts, parties who challenge the legal acts of EU institutions, eg Commission decisions, frequently raise many different pleas claiming violations concerning both EU law and the factual assessment. But it is for the EU Courts to adjudicate on those claims. When a party dissatisfied with the General-Court judgment appeals to the Court of Justice, in the appeal, the party cannot simply repeat the pleas raised in the action for the annulment before the General Court. An appeal to the Court of Justice must be limited to points of law and the appraisal of the facts by the General Court does not constitute, save where the clear sense of the evidence produced before it is distorted, a question of law which is subject, as such, to review by the Court of Justice. In State aid cases, case law frequently refers to the concept of the private operator to assess whether an action by public bodies can be compared to those of a comparable private operator, and if a State granted an advantage within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But the concept of the private operator has many variations which cannot all be reduced to the private investor or to private creditor formulas.

Comune di Milano: Explanation of the Conditions under Which an Injection of Capital Became a State Aid Measure · Case C-160/19 P Comune di Milano v Commission · Annotation by Alice Pisapia journal article

Annotation of the Judgment of the Court of Justice (Second Chamber) of 10 December 2020 in Case C-160/19 P Comune di Milano v Commission

Alice Pisapia

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 2, Page 188 - 193

The 2020 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union – C-160/19 P Comune di Milano v Commission – illustrates under which conditions the injection of capital in a company owned and controlled by the State can be considered a measure imputable to the State. The City of Milan (Comune di Milano) tried, until last instance, to defend the injection of public capital in the company SEA Handling SpA which was managing ground services at Milan-Linate and Milan-Malpensa airports. However, the appeal against the judgment of the General Court was supporting the Commission’s interpretation about the qualification of the measure as a State aid unlawfully provided and, in any case, incompatible with the European internal market. The present case note analyses two relevant juridical concepts: the private operator principle as applied by the Court with the private investor test, and the intensity of the judicial review to be applied by the Court during the appeal of a Commission decision in case of complex economic assessments. Finally, given the apical role of the Commission in State aid, the Court cannot replace the assessment carried out by the Commission; it can only revise it if the misapplication of the private investor principle was vitiated by a manifest error.

The Design of Enforcement Institutions: journal article

Lessons from the UK’s New State Aid Control Regime

Phedon Nicolaides

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 3, Page 370 - 383

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union it has to substitute the EU system of State aid control with its own system for the control of subsidies. Brexiters have argued that this presents a unique opportunity to the UK to design a system that is less cumbersome and more effective than that of the EU. This article examines how the draft Subsidy Control Bill intends to address the three problems of the design of institutions responsible for the control of State aid or subsidies; ie the problems of discovery, assessment and enforcement. If finds that, by comparison to the EU system, the proposed UK system seems to grant more leeway to public authorities and to impose fewer formal requirements but also to require assessment of most subsidies by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). At the same time, the greater leeway creates more uncertainty about the conformity of subsidies with the various principles laid down in the Subsidy Control Bill. The Bill also leaves several issues unclear, especially with regard to the status of subsidies which are not referred to the CMA or subsidies which are granted contrary to CMA recommendations. The powers of the CMA are certainly more limited than those of the Commission. Keywords: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement; UK Subsidy Control Bill; State aid regime; Competition and Markets Authority; Competition Appeal Tribunal.

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