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Welcome to the Jungle! journal article

Identification of Foreign Subsidies Under the New EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation

Philipp Reinhold, Thomas Weck

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 23 (2024), Issue 1, Page 22 - 34

The new industrial competition in the digital and ecological age has led to a global subsidy race. Against this backdrop, the EU's new instrument for foreign subsidies seems to have come at just the right time. However, the initial euphoria, particularly among companies in the EU that are under strong competitive pressure from China, has faded. There are more and more complaints about the extreme lack of clarity, particularly with regard to the comprehensive notification obligations, which is leading to considerable legal uncertainty. Until more detailed guidelines and/or exemptions are published, a step-by-step approach regarding the individual requirements and a corresponding risk assessment are essential. This also includes a better understanding of the concept of a foreign subsidy envisaged by the EU. Keywords: FSR; Foreign Subsidies Regulation; Merger; Public Procurement; Notification

Incentive Effect of Subsidies: Empirical Research Presented journal article

Pieter Wesselius

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 23 (2024), Issue 2, Page 143 - 150

Incentive effect is crucial in ensuring a proper allocation of State resources to undertakings and thereby achieving important policy objectives. However, it is uncertain to what extent undertakings applying for subsidies actually require the subsidy to initiate the project. This article presents empirical evidence on the incentive effect of research and development subsidies to small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Northern-Netherlands, along with recommendations to increase the incentive effect of subsidies. Whereas it currently is enough for an undertaking to simply refrain from initiating a project before applying for the subsidy, I advocate for the undertaking to have a more pro-active role: it should argue why the subsidy is necessary for the initiation of the project. Keywords: Incentive effect; General Block Exemptions Regulation; De minimis Regulation

The Three Poisons of Post-Covid State Aid Control: journal article open-access

Emerging Trends in Interpretation and Legislative Approach to Member States’ Aid Measures

Jakub Kociubiński

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 22 (2023), Issue 1, Page 4 - 16

Even though the economic situation remains precarious, the Covid-19 economic shock has subsided enough to allow us to take stock of the European Union (EU) responses to the pandemic and appraise them in the context of emerging trends. The author argues that there are early precursors of such trends – referred to as the ‘Three Poisons’ – observable in interpretive and legislative approaches to Member States’ aid measures. These are: the easier justification of extended lifelines without adequately recognising the need for adaptation to new market conditions, and moral hazard associated with subsidy dependence; the blurring of lines between what is theoretically rational and what is obtainable under crisis market conditions thereby distorting the results of the Market Economy Operator Test; the increasing reliance on ad hoc frameworks, and highly situation-specific interpretations potentially eroding the pre-existing acquis. In this context, the purpose of this article is to identify post-Covid trends which negatively affect or might affect the long-term effectiveness of the EU State aid control system. Based on this, to assess whether these ‘poisons’ can and should be opposed. This analysis will conclude with de lege lata and de lege ferenda recommendations. Keywords: COVID-19; market economy operator test; MEOP; moral hazard; ad hoc regulation; common assessment criteria

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.