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Fostering Tech Sovereignty with a Level Playing Field on State Aid and Foreign Subsidies journal article

Andreas Haak, Barbara Thiemann

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 21 (2022), Issue 1, Page 20 - 30

In her 2021 State of the European Union Address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed ‘the importance of investing in our European tech sovereignty’ and continued by appealing that ‘[w]e have to double down to shape our digital transformation according to our own rules’. Availability of semiconductors (also referred to as microchips or simply as chips) is essential for industry and national security alike. Without microchips there is no tech sovereignty. Given the currently fragile state of global supply chains, expanding fabrication capacity within the EU is high on the political agenda. At the same time, ensuring fair competition is of paramount importance. While tech sovereignty must be matched by sufficient State funding, it still needs to be awarded in compliance with EU State aid rules. These rules must not work as an impediment to tech sovereignty. Furthermore, the rules of the game must be the same for everyone. This regulatory objective is most evident in the draft Distortive Foreign Subsidies Regulation. Keywords: twin transition; ICPEI; supply chain; sovereignty; EU Chips Act; foreign subsidies


The Foreign Subsidies Regulation: journal article

Countering State Aid Beyond the European Union

Raymond Luja

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 2, Page 187 - 199

The European Commission proposed a Regulation to deal with the effects of foreign subsidies on the internal market. Undertakings involved in large mergers, acquisitions and upcoming joint ventures or those in the lead of submitting a tender may have to notify foreign subsidies directly or indirectly received in future. The proposal also allows the Commission to launch investigations into other foreign subsidies that distort the internal market. This contribution discusses both the material and formal framework as proposed and takes a first look at parallels and differences with the State aid regime governing intra-EU government subsidies, including guarantees and special tax treatment. The author recommends, inter alia, to clarify the concepts of ‘undertaking’ and ‘interim measures’, to limit notification to selective subsidies in the context of tenders, and to restrict the retroactive effect of the notification requirement in light of the administrative burden involved. Further suggestions to increase consistency and legal certainty have been included as well. As the new obligations imposed on undertakings may affect future public procurement procedures and concentrations, they should be given sufficient attention in time in order not to delay such procedures and to avoid fines or redressive measures. Keywords: foreign subsidies; common commercial policy; redressive measures; mergers; public procurement.

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