State Aid Law Blog

State Aid Uncovered Blog/Guest State Aid Blog

On a weekly basis Phedon Nicolaides posts critical analysis pieces on the latest State aid judgments and decisions on his blog State Aid Uncovered. Each article presents the main points of a court ruling or Commission‘s decision, places them in the context of similar case law or practice, assesses the underlying reasoning, and identifies any inconsistencies or contradictions.
Occasional guest blog posts by other State aid experts complement the State aid knowledge hub.

Join the debate now!

Professor at Maastricht University; Professor at University of Nicosia, and Academic Director at Lexxion Training

Cumulation of State Aid Granted by Different Member States

Introduction The EU Green Deal and the Climate, Environmental Protection and Energy Aid Guidelines [CEEAG] allow Member States to grant more aid, in diversity and amounts, to incentivise companies to invest in greener technologies and energy. However, when multiple Member States grant aid for the same purpose, there is a risk of overcompensation of undertakings that operate across Member States. […]

State Resources Include all the Resources that Can be Directed by the State for its own Purposes

Introduction On 12 January 2023, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in joined cases C-702/20, DOBELES HES and C-17/21, Sabiedrisko pakalpojumu regulēšanas komisija.[1] A Latvian court requested the Court of Justice to provide a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 107(1) TFEU, Article 108(3) TFEU, Regulation 1407/2013 on de minimis aid and of the procedural Regulation 2015/1589. The […]

The Private Acquirer Test: An Illuminating and also Puzzling Judgment

A public authority may act as a market operator and acquire services through a private third party without conferring an advantage to the provider of those services. Introduction When a public authority buys a service and pays the market price it does not confer an advantage to the seller in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Even if it pursues […]

The Value of Land

Different valuation methods do not confer a selective advantage if they generate similar results. Introduction Land or immovable property has no intrinsic value. Its value depends on how the land or property is used. In turn, how it is used is determined by several factors such as its location, and the applicable zoning rules. A plot of land in an […]

The Link between State Aid and Environmental Provisions of EU Law

Introduction It is an established principle in the case law that the Commission may not authorise State aid that infringes other provisions of EU law, both primary and secondary. Now consider the following case. A Member State notifies to the Commission regional investment aid to support the construction of a mega factory. The factory will produce its own energy and […]

Compensation for Damage

Introduction On 9 November 2022, the General Court followed its previous judgments in cases concerning compensation for damage caused by the covid-19 pandemic to rule, in case T-111/21, Ryanair v European Commission, that Member States were free to choose to whom to grant State aid.[1] Ryanair had sought the annulment of Commission decision SA.55373 concerning damage compensation to Croatia Airlines […]

State Guarantees for Undertakings in Difficulty

In order to detect State aid in a state guarantee, it is necessary to carry out a search to identify the market rate, if it exists. There is no general presumption that an undertaking in difficulty cannot obtain a guarantee from the market. It is necessary to consider the risk of default. The calculation of the amount of aid must […]

Compliance with State Aid Guidelines

For aid to be declared compatible with the internal market, all of the formal and substantive provisions of the relevant guidelines must be satisfied. State aid is granted the moment the right to a selective advantage is conferred, even if the actual benefit materialises at a future point in time. Introduction On 26 October 2022, the General Court reiterated, in […]

What Costs Must be Included in Compensation for Public Service Obligations?

Introduction The two most difficult issues in imposing a public service obligation on a providers of a service of general economic interest is, first, the correct definition of the obligation and, second, the correct calculation of the amount of compensation that covers only the net extra cost of the service. The correct definition must take into account what the market […]

No Effect on Trade

A public measure of purely local character and which does not induce cross-border movement of investors or clients is unlikely to affect trade between Member States. Introduction It is rare to find a judgment that confirms that a particular public measure is not liable to affect trade between Member States. The General Court did so in its judgment of 19 […]

Cumulation of State Aid Granted by Different Member States

Introduction The EU Green Deal and the Climate, Environmental Protection and Energy Aid Guidelines [CEEAG] allow Member States to grant more aid, in diversity and amounts, to incentivise companies to invest in greener technologies and energy. However, when multiple Member States grant aid for the same purpose, there is a risk of overcompensation of undertakings that operate across Member States. […]

State Resources Include all the Resources that Can be Directed by the State for its own Purposes

Introduction On 12 January 2023, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in joined cases C-702/20, DOBELES HES and C-17/21, Sabiedrisko pakalpojumu regulēšanas komisija.[1] A Latvian court requested the Court of Justice to provide a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 107(1) TFEU, Article 108(3) TFEU, Regulation 1407/2013 on de minimis aid and of the procedural Regulation 2015/1589. The […]

The Private Acquirer Test: An Illuminating and also Puzzling Judgment

A public authority may act as a market operator and acquire services through a private third party without conferring an advantage to the provider of those services. Introduction When a public authority buys a service and pays the market price it does not confer an advantage to the seller in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Even if it pursues […]

The Value of Land

Different valuation methods do not confer a selective advantage if they generate similar results. Introduction Land or immovable property has no intrinsic value. Its value depends on how the land or property is used. In turn, how it is used is determined by several factors such as its location, and the applicable zoning rules. A plot of land in an […]

The Link between State Aid and Environmental Provisions of EU Law

Introduction It is an established principle in the case law that the Commission may not authorise State aid that infringes other provisions of EU law, both primary and secondary. Now consider the following case. A Member State notifies to the Commission regional investment aid to support the construction of a mega factory. The factory will produce its own energy and […]

State Guarantees for Undertakings in Difficulty

In order to detect State aid in a state guarantee, it is necessary to carry out a search to identify the market rate, if it exists. There is no general presumption that an undertaking in difficulty cannot obtain a guarantee from the market. It is necessary to consider the risk of default. The calculation of the amount of aid must […]

Compliance with State Aid Guidelines

For aid to be declared compatible with the internal market, all of the formal and substantive provisions of the relevant guidelines must be satisfied. State aid is granted the moment the right to a selective advantage is conferred, even if the actual benefit materialises at a future point in time. Introduction On 26 October 2022, the General Court reiterated, in […]

No Effect on Trade

A public measure of purely local character and which does not induce cross-border movement of investors or clients is unlikely to affect trade between Member States. Introduction It is rare to find a judgment that confirms that a particular public measure is not liable to affect trade between Member States. The General Court did so in its judgment of 19 […]

Natural Disasters and State Aid

Compensation for damage suffered by undertakings as a result of a natural disaster constitutes State aid. The compensation is compatible with the internal market only if, first, there is a causal relationship between the natural disaster and the damage and, second, the amount of compensation does not exceed the amount of the damage. Introduction Financial assistance in the form of […]

Research Organisations, their Primary Objectives and their Shareholders

A research organisation is not required to reinvest any revenue it may generate into its non-economic activities. The fact that the shareholders of a research entity are profit seeking has no decisive impact on its classification as a research organisation. Introduction As governments push universities to engage in more collaborative research with industry, the question increasingly arises where to draw […]

Further Views on Editorial by Andreas Bartosch (EStAL 1/2022, 1)

Reading the Editorial by Andreas Bartosch (EStAL 1/2022, 1), I feel tempted – not to worship Satan or the GBER, but to add some more colours to the picture drawn up by the esteemed colleague. It is true that the Block Exemption Regulations were intended to save the Commission Services from „lästigem Alltagsgerümpel“ (“boring routine rubbish”, as Andreas Bartosch dubbed […]

How to approach the risk of carbon lock-in effects in state aid analysis?

A recent FSR Debate[1] held on 4 May examined the key question of how policymakers and regulators can avoid carbon lock-in jeopardising the attainment of the European Union’s ambitious energy and climate targets. Carbon lock-in refers to situations where emissions-intensive energy assets continue to be used even when low-carbon and socially more beneficial assets are available.  This is a controversial […]

The European Commission’s Opening Decision in the German Lignite Phase-Out Case – Part II.

The article is based on a legal opinion, that was given to LEAG. Doubts regarding the existence of an advantage – continued Compensation amounts based on a MEO settlement agreement An essential component of the compensation covering the full scope of any damages caused to the operators affected by the early closure is also the avoidance of legal and factual […]

The European Commission’s Opening Decision in the German Lignite Phase-Out Case – Part I.

The article is based on a legal opinion, that was given to LEAG. Introduction The European Green Deal envisages a clean and decarbonised energy sector with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.[1] These ambitious objectives entrust the Member States with enormous tasks in connection with the transformation process, which must always be designed in a proportionate manner. For this purpose, […]

Pre- Notifications, Preliminary Investigations and the Rights of Third Parties in State Aid Procedures – Beware of the Black Hole!

The persistently cautious approach of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to recognizing any really meaningful rights for third parties in State aid proceedings before the European Commission as well as in judicial proceedings is well-known and frequently criticized. With the recent adoption of the new Climate Law at the end of June and the official launch […]

Public Support to Ultrafast Networks in the Italian NRRP

As part of the investments to support the digitisation, innovation and competitiveness of the production system[1], the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) has allocated €6.71 billion for interventions in favor of ultra-fast networks (ultra-broadband and 5G)[2]. The amount will be deployed by 2026 to achieve the objectives defined in the “Italian Strategy for ultra-broadband”[3] in accordance with the EU […]

The UK’s New Subsidy Control Bill: Targeting a Faster, More Permissive Regime Than EU State Aid Rules

The long awaited Subsidy Control Bill has been published by the UK Government with bold promises that it will “create a new system for subsidies that can enable key domestic priorities, such as levelling up economic growth across the UK and driving our green industrial revolution“.  In this article we identify the main changes immediately emerging from the draft legislation, […]

When State Aid Gets Political

We are happy to receive a guest comment on the EU – UK post-Brexit trade negotiations from Professor Emerita, Erika Szyszczak, who is a Fellow of UKTPO at the University of Sussex. This is a longer version of an earlier Blog published on the UKTPO website. Control over State aid is a stumbling block for the future of an EU […]

Belgium and COVID-19: The European Commission Approves Several Belgian State Aid Measures

We are happy to share with you an update on the Covid-19 measures that have been approved in Belgium. Our guest auhor Wout De Cock is a PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and part-time teaching assistant at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.* Introduction In issue 1/2020 of the European State Aid Law Quarterly, we concluded that the European Commission […]

COVID-19 Measures Adopted and State Aid Measures (Hopefully) to Be Adopted: An Update from Cyprus

We are happy to share with you an update on the Covid-19 measures that are or will be adopted in Cyprus. Our guest auhor Michail Kamperis is a lawyer and partner at the law firm of Ierotheou, Kamperis & Co. LLC Nicosia, Cyprus. * Sign up for our free news alert  Sign Up For Free   Cyprus is one of […]

How to Submit a Blog Post

Do you want to share your analysis of a State aid law topic? We invite you to submit your post on, for example: recent European, national or international judgments or legislation with relevance to EU State aid law; new developments, publications, hot topics in EU State aid law. The recommended length of the post is 500-2,000 words incl. references (endnotes). Your analysis will be published under the category ‘Guest State Aid Blog’.

Here’s how you can publish a post on the Blog as a guest author:

Step 1: Submit your draft post as a Word file to stateaidhub[a]lexxion.eu.

Step 2: The StateAidHub team will review your draft to make sure its content and quality fit the blog. If needed, they will suggest what improvements you should make.

Step 3: Once your draft has been finalised and accepted, we will send you a link to register and log-in to the Blog as a guest author.

Step 4: Once you have logged-in to the blog, you can upload and publish your post.

Step 5: Enjoy the fame!

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