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Petra Flašker and the Notion of Doubts in the Context of Preliminary Investigations of Both New and Existing Measures · Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission · Annotation by Marianne Clayton, Gaétan Roelants du Vivier and Matthieu Jamart journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 27 April 2022 in Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission

Marianne Clayton, Gaétan Roelants du Vivier, Matthieu Jamart

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 1, Page 89 - 94

The judgment of the General Court in Case T-392/20 Flašker v Commission addresses the procedural concept of serious difficulties and the scope of the Commission’s obligation, when investigating complaints, to carry out a thorough examination beyond the mere information provided by the complainants and the national authorities which is also applicable in the context of existing aid. In particular, the General Court reaffirmed the Commission’s responsibility to conduct a proper investigation when faced with serious allegations and insisted that the Commission cannot rely on the fact that the complaint may not be sufficiently substantiated as an argument for dismissing it. More novel, the General Court noted that the Commission had disregarded the existing procedural rules by adopting a decision finding that, assuming that a measure constitutes aid, it amounts to existing aid, but unfortunately did not draw any further conclusions.




Extension of Formal Investigation Procedure and Obligation to State Reasons · Case T-388/11 Deutsche Post · Annotation by Alessandra Fratini journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (First Chamber, Extended Composition) of 10 April 2019 in Case T-388/11 Deutsche Post v European Commission

Alessandra Fratini

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 18 (2019), Issue 3, Page 372 - 376

On 10 April 2019, the General Court handed down yet another judgment in the long-lasting Deutsche Post saga, this time addressing the challenges brought against the Commission Decision extending the formal investigation procedure with regard to the pension subsidies granted to Deutsche Post for the employees with civil servant status. While it may not be the end of the story, the judgment provides interesting insights on the binding legal effects of a Decision to extend an ongoing formal investigation, for the purposes of it constituting an act open to challenge under Article 263 TFEU. It also sheds light on the Commission’s obligation to state reasons concerning the existence of a selective economic advantage, pursuant to Article 107(1) TFEU, when the beneficiary is in a situation which cannot be compared with the one of its competitors due to the peculiar legal regime that is applicable to it. Keywords: Challengeable act; Independent effects of the Decision extending a formal investigation; Interest in bringing an action; Advantage; Duty to state reasons; Incomparable position of the beneficiary.


‘Prior in Tempore, Potior in Jure’ Does Not Exclude State Aid to Users of Infrastructure · Case T-108/16 Naviera Armas · Annotation  Marianne Clayton, Egill Olafsson and Maria Segura journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court of 15 March 2018 in Case T-108/16 Naviera Armas SA

Marianne Clayton, Egill Olafsson, Maria Segura

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 2, Page 282 - 289

On 15 March 2018, the General Court annulled a Commission Decision which considered that the Spanish authorities had not granted state aid in favour of Fred Olsen through some measures relating to the port of Puerto de Las Nieves in the Canary Islands. A competitor, who had complained to the Commission about the said measures, applied for annulment of the Commission’s Decision on the grounds that the Commission should have opened the formal investigation procedure resulting from the fact that it had encountered serious difficulties. Even though the Decision had been appealed on the grounds of procedure, by its nature, the Court had to go into the substance of the case. The line between procedure and substance can be a fine one. Keywords: Opening Formal Investigation; Serious Difficulties; Use of State-Owned Infrastructure.

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