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Support for Services in the Lithuanian Electricity Sector · Case C-706/17 Achema · Annotation by Lina Barauskaitė journal article

Annotation on the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice (Fourth Chamber) of 15 May 2019 in Case C-706/17 AB Achema, AB Orlen Lietuva and AB Lifosa v Valstybinė kainų ir energetikos kontrolės komisija, Lietuvos Respublikos energetikos ministerija, UAB Baltpool

Lina Barauskaitė

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 3, Page 352 - 358

On 15 May 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU or the Court) rendered a landmark state aid preliminary ruling where it assessed the Lithuanian public interest services (PIS) support measure provided to certain Lithuanian electricity producers. The measure was never notified to the European Commission and was subject to number of court disputes at the national level. The ruling confirms that the PIS support in the electricity sector constitutes State aid. In particular, the Court confirms that PIS funds can be regarded as State resources, since their life cycle (collection, administration and distribution) are strictly regulated and remains under the control of the Lithuanian State. PIS funds are also intended to finance certain services in the electricity sector, constituting a selective advantage. Moreover, due to characteristics of the Lithuanian electricity market, such as existing interconnectors and European Union electricity market liberalisation, PIS scheme is also liable to affect trade between the Member States and distort competition. Finally, the Court also expressed its doubts whether PIS should be defined as service of general economic interest (SGEI). According to the Court, the requirements for SGEI existence are not met. Keywords: Energy; Electricity; State resources; Imputability; Effect on trade; Distortion of competition; SGEI.


The Difficulty of Being ‘Local’: journal article

An Essay on an Unknown Friend

Hans Arno Petzold

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 2, Page 250 - 258

EU State aid law does frequently refer to the term ‘local’: firstly in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) when asking whether trade between Member States is affected, in the sense of a cross-border effect of the respective measure, secondly in the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) as from 1 July 2014, which exempts certain ‘local’ aids, falling under Article 107(1) TFEU, from prior notification. In this essay the attempt is made, by analysing Commission decisions and the GBER, to come to a definition of the term ‘local’ suitable for use in day-to-day funding practice. Keywords: Effects on Trade; Local Character; Article 107(1) TFEU; GBER.


The ‘Effect on Trade’ Criterion in European Union State Aid Law: A Critical Approach journal article

Bernadette Zelger

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 1, Page 28 - 42

This piece focuses on the second aspect of the fourth criterion for a measure to qualify as aid pursuant to Article 107(1) TFEU, namely whether a respective measure has an effect on trade between Member States or rather qualifies as purely local in nature. It will be demonstrated that the Commission’s existing guidance on the effect on trade criterion in its Notion of Aid Notice and its package of recent Commission decisions provide two main criteria which have to be considered when assessing whether or not a measure is local. Therefore, these packages, along with further guidance of the Commission on the effect on trade criterion in its Notion of Aid Notice, do provide a framework for identifying local measures, however, the framework provided does not pursue a ‘safe harbour’ approach like, for example, the Commission’s General Block Exemption Regulation or the De Minimis Regulation. This article provides a critical analysis of the existing legal framework and the Commission’s guidance in this respect, and concludes by suggesting a novel policy approach. Keywords: Effect on Trade; Competition; Distortion; Notion of Aid.

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