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Madeira Free Trade Zone: New or Existing Aid? · Case T-131/21 Região Autónoma da Madeira v Commission · Annotation by Jorge Risueño Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Fifth Chamber) of 21 June 2023, in Case T-131/21 Região Autónoma da Madeira v European Commission.

Jorge Risueño

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 22 (2023), Ausgabe 3, Seite 337 - 342

This case note concerns Região Autónoma da Madeira’s (RAM) action for annulment of the Commission decision relating the aid scheme SA.21259 (2018/C) implemented by Portugal in favour of the free trade zone of Madeira.1 The General Court’s judgment presents a unique opportunity to analyse some key State aid concepts, including procedural aspects, such as the admissibility of infra-State bodies; concepts relating to the notion of State aid, such as the selectivity criterion; and concepts relating to the phase of recovery of unlawful aid, including the principles of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and proportionality and the limitation period. This note also addresses the Court’s assessment of whether aid is new or existing.


KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen: Setting Out the Fundamentals on the Duty to Recover Illegally Granted State Aid · Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen · Annotation by Stig Eidissen Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice (Ninth Chamber) of 7 April 2022 in Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 KW v Autonome Provinz Bozen

Stig Eidissen

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 21 (2022), Ausgabe 4, Seite 415 - 418

The preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-102/21 and C-103/21 addressed the expiry date of a Commission decision to authorise aid, and the obligation of Member States to recover illegally granted State aid. The Court of Justice reiterated its previous case-law setting out the duty of public authorities to recover illegally granted State aid on their own initiative. The judgment sets out the fundamentals of both the Commission’s and national authorities’ duty to recover State aid granted in violation of the standstill obligation clearly and concisely. Perhaps more novel, the judgment holds that Member States may consider GBER exemptions to limit the recovery sum.



The Interplay between the European Commission, National Authorities and National Courts in State Aid Law: Journal Artikel

An Attempt to Cut the Gordian Knot

Ranjana Andrea Achleitner

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 21 (2022), Ausgabe 2, Seite 173 - 180

The interplay between the Commission, national courts and national authorities in the system of State aid enforcement poses a number of challenges and potential conflicts, which, in the end – as undoubtedly showcased by the Eesti Pagar judgment– also put the aid beneficiaries under great pressure in the context of the General Block Exemption Regulation. This article attempts to identify the most important problems and challenges related to the division of roles between the institutions in State aid law, with the intention of proposing solutions that provide legal certainty for relevant undertakings, the national authorities and national courts. The article also discusses the fact that despite the growing number of private enforcement litigation, the national courts have rarely concluded that unlawful aid was granted and rarely awarded remedies. The purpose of this paper is to provide proposals for more effective private enforcement. Finally, the article pays particular attention to the limited use of cooperation tools and suggests an update of these mechanisms. Keywords: private enforcement; eState-Wiki; GBER; standstill obligation; unlawful aid





Recovery of Unlawful Aid in Case of Insolvency Journal Artikel

Stefania Bello, Germano Guglielmi

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 19 (2020), Ausgabe 4, Seite 440 - 451

The provisions on State aid laid down by the TFEU aim at preventing that public intervention in the economy could affect trade and distort competition to an extent contrary to the common interest. To this end, the Commission may order Member States to recover State aid granted in breach of EU law. This article focuses in particular on the specific case of aid recovery from insolvent beneficiaries. The Commission has always taken a very rigorous approach on this matter, requiring the winding-up of the beneficiary and the exit from the market where it is not able to reimburse the total amount of the recovery, regardless of the circumstances of the case. The Recovery Notice adopted in 2019 confirmed the rigid position taken by the Commission towards insolvent beneficiaries. The main purposes of this article are, firstly, to assess the approach adopted by the Commission and, secondly, to investigate the existence of the possibility for the Member State to behave as a private creditor in recovering the unlawful aid, or to suspend the recovery procedure in order to examine a plan to relaunch the activities of the insolvent beneficiary. Keywords: Recovery Notice; unlawful aid; State aid recovery; insolvent beneficiaries



A New Boost to National Recovery? · Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar · Annotation by Svein Terje Tveit Journal Artikel

Annotation on the Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 5 March 2019 in Case C‑349/17 Eesti Pagar AS v Ettevõtluse Arendamise Sihtasutus, Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium.

Svein Terje Tveit

European State Aid Law Quarterly, Jahrgang 18 (2019), Ausgabe 2, Seite 186 - 191

On 5 March 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJ) issued an important ruling clarifying the scope of the national authorities’ obligation to recover unlawful State aid and the test for ‘incentive effect’ — a requirement for an aid measure to benefit from the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). The CJ confirms that national authorities must recover unlawful State aid also in cases where the aid is granted (wrongfully) under the GBER as regional investment aid and the Commission has not adopted any Decision. The aid beneficiary may not rely on the principle of protection of legitimate expectations even if the granting authority had recommended the aid beneficiary to apply for aid knowing that work on the project had begun before the aid application was submitted. In cases where the EU rules on limitation period and interests are not directly applicable, national rules apply, so that the national authorities must seek full recovery of the unlawful aid and thereby ensure the effectiveness of State aid rules. Keywords: GBER; Recovery; National enforcement; Unlawful aid; National legal basis.