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How Flexible Should State Aid Control Be in Times of Crisis? journal article

Carole Maczkovics

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 3, Page 271 - 283

The COVID-19 pandemic requires massive State intervention in the economy. To allow EU Member States to act decisively, the Commission committed to make flexible use of State aid rules. This article examines how, over the first four months of the crisis, these rules have been applied to measures notified by EU Member States in view of addressing the consequences of the crisis on their economy. It further highlights the risks that the more flexible application of State aid rules in the context of the current crisis can present for the level playing field and the internal market, and argues that the EU Recovery Plan would not be able to remove those risks. Finally, it recommends that the Commission reviews whether aid measures comply with the general principle of equal treatment and, where it is given discretion under the Treaty, considers imposing conditions counter-balancing distortions of competition, and as the case may be, enabling the green and digital transition so as to ensure, to the largest extent possible, fair competition and the integrity of the internal market. Keywords: COVID-19, level playing field, internal market, equal treatment, conditionality


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