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Judgment By Formula: Regulatory Form and the Differentiation of Fiscal Measures and Non-Fiscal Measures in EU State Aid Law journal article

Christopher McMahon

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 23 (2024), Issue 1, Page 4 - 14

The State aid rules apply to a wide range of interventions on the internal market that take a variety of different forms. This poses challenges for the case law on the identification of aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU as it seeks to adapt the standards it applies to different circumstances while avoiding formalism. Criticisms in the academic literature of the application of the prohibition on aid to fiscal measures are frequently premised on the assumption that the rules should apply in a different way to such measures on account of their relationship with the sovereignty of Member States in the field of taxation. The manner in which the law on the application of the State aid rules to fiscal measures remains unsettled. This article examines a substantial doctrinal obstacle to any form of differentiation in the standards used to identify fiscal and non-fiscal measures in the form of two related maxims which recur throughout the case law. The first holds that aid is defined in relation to its effects. The second is that regulatory technique is irrelevant to the classification of a measure as aid. This article will chart the development of these established formulae in the case law and explain their relationship to one another, arguing that they represent a significant, but not absolute impediment to the articulation of distinct standards to identify aid in the form of fiscal measures. Keywords: Effects; Objectives; Selectivity; Fiscal Measures; Taxation; Article 107(1) TFEU; Formalism


Inextricably Linked? The Limits of a State Aid Inquiry · Case T-101/18 Republic of Austria v European Commission (Paks II) · Annotation by Tamás Kende and Gábor Puskás journal article

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court of 30 November 2023 in Case T-101/18 Republic of Austria v European Commission (Paks II)

Tamás Kende, Gábor Puskás

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 2, Page 205 - 211

Article 107(3)(c) TFEU requires a delicate balancing of the positive effects of the aid aiming the development of certain economic activities and the negative effects thereof. The Paks II judgment provides clarifications as to the limits of this balancing process and the European Commission’s obligations to take into account primary and secondary EU laws other than those related to State aid, as well as fundamental goals of the EU Treaties like the protection of environment. The Paks II judgment also confirms that State aid rules are also applicable concerning activities falling under the EURATOM Treaty and clarifies the relationship between State aid and public procurement and an infringement procedure and a State aid procedure. The Paks II judgment also shows that Member States have a hard time with challenging the Commission’s State aid decisions if they rely on an alleged err in law or they attack the Commission’s discretionary powers and the proper application thereof.


Selectivity and Proportionality: journal article

Can State Aid Control Learn from the Free Movement Rationale?

Christos Nikolaos Kalyka

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 1, Page 42 - 54

This article reviews the interaction between EU State aid control and free movement law. A critical assessment of the case-law suggests that both regimes contribute to the attainment of similar goals: the establishment of an undistorted market. Their complementary interplay suggests that some principles from the case law on free movement can be used as an interpretative tool in relation to State aid, especially in the assessment of material selectivity. Accordingly, the extent to which State aid control can assess the competence of Member States to pursue national objectives is explored. National objectives can be pursued, provided the measures incorporating them are consistent with the objective pursued. The assessment of consistency in essence adopts elements of the principle of proportionality which is used under free movement law and therefore it does not prevent the ability of Member States to promote national interests, rather it assesses the coherence of the regulatory standard used for the promotion of the objective. Keywords: selectivity; proportionality; national objectives; consistency


Hinkley Point C: Trimming the SAM, While Extending the Reach of Wider EU Law Infringements? journal article

Leigh Hancher, Antonios Bouchagiar

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 20 (2021), Issue 4, Page 529 - 545

The judgment of the Court of Justice in the Hinkley case provides food for thought on several fundamental questions of EU State aid law. The present article discusses two of them. First, the authors analyse the role (if any) of objectives of common interest in the assessment of compatibility of aid under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU, as well as the manner in which the Commission should balance the positive against the negative effects of such aid. Second, the authors explore how strong the link of relevance should be between an aid measure and an alleged breach of other EU law (outside the field of State aid) for such a breach to affect the compatibility assessment of the aid. The authors analyse whether the Hinkley judgment has lowered the threshold for finding such a link in comparison to the previous case-law requiring an 'indissoluble link', which could have significant institutional implications. Keywords: Hinkley; objective of common interest; indissoluble link; energy Milestones Preview: this article is based on a chapter of the upcoming second edition of the book 'Milestones in State Aid Case Law' (Lexxion 2022).


The Objectivity of the Concept of Presumed State Aid and The Problem of Deficient Circumstantial Interpretation journal article

Carina Barbosa Gouvêa, Pedro Hermílio Villas Bôas Castelo Branco

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 1, Page 39 - 43

In its judgment in Case T-791/16 Real Madrid Club de Fútbol v European Commission, the Court of Justice annulled the Commission Decision on aid measure SA.33754. The judgment allowed the rekindling, from the perspective of political science, of the discussions surrounding what represents the semantic definition of State aid, granted by the States or coming from State resources. The innovation brought by the European Commission was to establish a new subcategory for the term - presumed State aid. We discuss whether this type of aid can be fitted into the control by and decisional standards of the European Commission from a purely objective standpoint. The judgment leads us to reflect on the role played by the Commission regarding the evolution of the concept of State aid. However, this evolution, as an update of the directions of Article 107(1) TFEU, must take into consideration a methodology that necessarily goes through a path aimed at the market analysis based on the economic and social context of the State in question. The answer must be in accordance with the objectives and purposes of Community law and this does not represent a literal exegesis of the legal text. Keywords: Presumed State aid; Circumstantial interpretation; Objective and subjective concept of aid.

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