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Whether or Not to Bite the Apple: Some Implications of the August 2016 Commission Decision on Irish Tax Benefits for Apple journal article

Eugene Stuart

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 2, Page 209 - 232

Every State aid regulatory decision in the EU has political, economic and administrative dimensions in addition to the application of legal rules and principles. The Apple Decision of August 2016, imposing a record recovery order against Ireland, is no exception. In the context of the use of the EU State aid rules to promote fair tax competition, and contribute indirectly to failed tax harmonisation, this article looks in detail at the Apple Decision together with its implications in the context of EU State aid and taxation policy and some of the sensitive political repercussions arising from the Decision. State aid in the EU via tax measures continues to represent about one-third of all State aid. Accordingly, it is also topical and useful to explore the logic and motivation of the European Commission in treating tax measures as liable to give rise to State aid concerns (and as priority and major cases) in the context of the Apple Decision and the soft law measures, Commission decisions and case law which preceded it. The case is currently on appeal and, although the Irish arguments do not seem strong at first sight, on several points the position of the Apple entities and of the Irish tax authorities will need to be analysed in detail by the Court in response to the Irish arguments and there is likely to be some scope for certain Commission positions in the case to be over-turned on points of fact, if further proven in the appeal. In reviewing the Apple Decision, the EU Courts will soon have an important (or even historic) opportunity to decide whether or not to further support the legality of the Commission’s continuing expansion of its State aid remit in regard to allegedly unfair tax measures. Keywords: Tax Rulings; Unfair Tax Competition; Tax Harmonisation; Arm’s Length Principle; Record State Aid Recovery.


DEI v European Commision  ∙ C-590/14 P ∙ Annotation by Mihalis Kekelekis journal article

Annotation on the Appeal Judgement of the CJEU (Tenth Chamber) in Case C-590/14 P DEIof 21 October 2016 (the Follow-Up of Case T-542/11 Alouminion v European Commission)

Mihalis Kekelekis

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 2, Page 291 - 294

The notion of existing aid has a huge importance in State aid control. Procedural rules for existing aid differ from those regarding new aid. The consequence of granting new or existing aid is also different: from recovery to a proposal to adopt appropriate measures and modify the scheme. As other notions in the State aid field, despite its importance, the notion of existing aid is still evolving by the case-law of the EU courts. This should be an objective concept but as this judgment reveals, it may also be influenced by a subjective analysis regarding State aid compatibility. This judgment also clarifies the role of national courts in the State aid field. National courts must not only serve as guarantors of the direct effect of Article 108(3) TFEU but also as potential aid granting authorities. Keywords: Existing Aid; New Aid; Recovery; Duration; Alteration of an Existing Aid; National Courts; Notification.


ARTICLES - STATE AID AND NATIONAL JURISDICTIONS ∙ Recovering Unlawful and Incompatible Aids by National Courts: CELF and Scott/Kimberly Clark Cases journal article

Denis Jouve

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 3, Page 367 - 376

In CELF and Scott/Kimberly Clark cases, the Court of Justice clarified the role and the power of national courts to recover unlawful State aids. This fundamental role to protect individuals’ rights varies depending on Commission intervention. When the Commission has issued a final decision, national courts become the guardian of this decision, they have to control the execution in national law. In this situation, their room for manoeuvre is reduced. Pending a final Commission decision, it is for the national court to safeguard the rights of individuals and the effectiveness of Article 108(3) of the Treaty. Therefore, national courts shall take all relevant measures in order to protect individuals’ rights and to stop unlawfulness. It is forced to act even if Commission has decided on State aid compatibility but it has more freedom and it is possible to not order recovery. Keywords: Recovery; Unlawful Aid; Incompatible Aid; National Courts; CELF; Scott/Kimberly Clark.


ARTICLES - STATE AID AND NATIONAL JURISDICTIONS ∙ Economic Penalties and Recovery of State Aid: Some Lessons from the Spanish Experience journal article

Miguel Sampol Pucurull

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 16 (2017), Issue 3, Page 431 - 438

The EU Treaties establish a system to ensure compliance of the judgments of the Court of Justice. In the area of State aid law the Court has already imposed some economic sanctions to Member States for failure to adopt the necessary measures to comply with a first judgment. In 2012 and 2014, the Spanish authorities had to adopt different measures in this area. Both cases arise different aspects concerning the recovery of State aid. The paper depicts some of the lessons and the difficulties of the implementation of both judgments. It reflects on the institutional aspects concerning the execution of Luxembourg decisions, on the role of the national judges and the public authorities which granted the aid when the implementation affects a beneficiary involved in an insolvency proceeding or on which tax scheme to apply to the beneficiary company when the previous scheme is declared illegal according to EU law. In the context of the recovery also the procedural rights and national remedies may have an effect on the compliance of EU law. Keywords: Penalty; Recovery; Spain; Magefesa; Basque Tax Incentives.