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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


State Aid in the Ports Sector: a Blessing or a Curse? journal article

Recent European Policy Initiatives and Measures from a Dutch Perspective.

Sarah Beeston, Pim Jansen, Kiek Brink

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 17 (2018), Issue 3, Page 328 - 337

The European Commission sees the ports sector as a driving force for economic growth and regional development in Europe. It has recently developed various policy initiatives in this sector and taken measures whereby State aid control forms the key element. The Commission has opted for an approach based on two interlinked pillars. First, the Commission intends to create a (more) level playing field among European Union Member States, by using State aid rules to curb tax benefits for (public) companies in the ports sector. Second, further to the State Aid Modernisation Programme, the Commission is, to an increasing extent, pursuing an active European economic policy in the ports sector by means of exemptions from the prohibition of State aid. As a result, certain aid measures targeting market failures and objectives of a common European interest are permissible. In this article we will provide an analysis of recent developments and place them in their legal and policy-related context. We will specifically discuss the impact of these developments on seaports in the Netherlands.

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