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

Compensation for the Net Cost of Public Service Obligations (Part I)

Public service obligations must be imposed through an act of entrustment that defines clearly the terms of the service and the duration of the obligation. The “reasonable profit” in the public service compensation should reflect the risk borne by the provider. Introduction In 2009, the Commission received several complaints concerning State aid that Italy had granted to the various shipping […]

Legal Standing of Competitors

A Commission decision authorising or prohibiting a state aid measure that can be implemented without any intermediate rules is a “regulatory act” that can be challenged by “directly concerned” undertakings. Introduction Any natural or legal person who is the addressee of an act of an EU institution can challenge that act before EU courts. This is a right that is […]

Economic Activities of a Research Organisation (Part I)

The revenue from the economic activities of a research organisation must cover the full cost of those activities. Introduction Member States use extensively the GBER to support R&D schemes. If we exclude the measures that were implemented in the context of covid-19 and now those which are financed by the recovery and resilience fund, not more than a dozen measures […]

The State Behaving Like a Private Land Owner

A private land owner changes rent at market rates. But it may accept lower rent if the user of the land incurs costs to improve it. Comparative analysis to determine the market value of land must take into account not only the particularities of the various land plots, but also the particularities of the various rental contracts. Introduction When the […]

State Guarantees without State Aid

Introduction State guarantees may constitute State aid if they are not priced at market rates. A properly priced guarantee reflects the risk assumed by the public authority that issues it and the collateral, if any, that the beneficiary undertaking can pledge. The State aid that is embedded in a guarantee that is priced below the relevant market rate is operating […]

Why Grant a Loan to an Undertaking in Difficulty?

When a market operator invests in an undertaking in difficulty it also considers the possibility of restructuring, sale or closure. Introduction The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is “because the loan enables the undertaking to become viable again and repay the loan with interest”. It is now well established in the case law that […]

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 […]

Individual Aid to Counter the Effects of Serious Economic Disturbance Is Legally Possible, but Is it Appropriate?

Individual aid need not be capable itself to remedy serious economic disturbance in the economy of a Member State. It is sufficient that it contributes to that effect. Introduction On 22 June 2022, in case T‑657/20, Ryanair v European Commission, the General Court confirmed once more that Member States have a right to grant State aid to the undertakings of […]

The Date on which State Aid is Deemed to be Granted Is not necessarily the Date on which the Actual Benefit Materialises

State aid is deemed to be granted even if the benefit cannot be quantified in advance and even if state resources are transferred at a future point in time. Introduction The precise date on which State aid is granted can be important such as, for example, when calculating the present value of aid granted in tranches at different points in […]

Territoriality and the Tax Treatment of Intra-group Transactions

A special tax rule can constitute the reference or normal system of taxation if it is “severable” from other tax rules and has its own legal logic. Introduction The application of State aid rules to the tax treatment of transactions between companies that belong to the same multinational group is contentious. During the past three years or so, the Commission […]

Legal Standing of Competitors

A Commission decision authorising or prohibiting a state aid measure that can be implemented without any intermediate rules is a “regulatory act” that can be challenged by “directly concerned” undertakings. Introduction Any natural or legal person who is the addressee of an act of an EU institution can challenge that act before EU courts. This is a right that is […]

Economic Activities of a Research Organisation (Part I)

The revenue from the economic activities of a research organisation must cover the full cost of those activities. Introduction Member States use extensively the GBER to support R&D schemes. If we exclude the measures that were implemented in the context of covid-19 and now those which are financed by the recovery and resilience fund, not more than a dozen measures […]

The State Behaving Like a Private Land Owner

A private land owner changes rent at market rates. But it may accept lower rent if the user of the land incurs costs to improve it. Comparative analysis to determine the market value of land must take into account not only the particularities of the various land plots, but also the particularities of the various rental contracts. Introduction When the […]

State Guarantees without State Aid

Introduction State guarantees may constitute State aid if they are not priced at market rates. A properly priced guarantee reflects the risk assumed by the public authority that issues it and the collateral, if any, that the beneficiary undertaking can pledge. The State aid that is embedded in a guarantee that is priced below the relevant market rate is operating […]

Why Grant a Loan to an Undertaking in Difficulty?

When a market operator invests in an undertaking in difficulty it also considers the possibility of restructuring, sale or closure. Introduction The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is “because the loan enables the undertaking to become viable again and repay the loan with interest”. It is now well established in the case law that […]

Individual Aid to Counter the Effects of Serious Economic Disturbance Is Legally Possible, but Is it Appropriate?

Individual aid need not be capable itself to remedy serious economic disturbance in the economy of a Member State. It is sufficient that it contributes to that effect. Introduction On 22 June 2022, in case T‑657/20, Ryanair v European Commission, the General Court confirmed once more that Member States have a right to grant State aid to the undertakings of […]

The Date on which State Aid is Deemed to be Granted Is not necessarily the Date on which the Actual Benefit Materialises

State aid is deemed to be granted even if the benefit cannot be quantified in advance and even if state resources are transferred at a future point in time. Introduction The precise date on which State aid is granted can be important such as, for example, when calculating the present value of aid granted in tranches at different points in […]

Territoriality and the Tax Treatment of Intra-group Transactions

A special tax rule can constitute the reference or normal system of taxation if it is “severable” from other tax rules and has its own legal logic. Introduction The application of State aid rules to the tax treatment of transactions between companies that belong to the same multinational group is contentious. During the past three years or so, the Commission […]

A Rare Commission Decision on SGEI Interpreting Decision 2012/21

A non-profit provider of free services which are in competition with similar services on the market is an undertaking. Introduction The decentralisation of State aid policy of the past decade has made it easier for the Member States to achieve their public policy objectives. By using blog exemption regulations and decisions, they can grant State aid faster, without having to […]

State Aid and Anti-Competitive Practices

State aid to undertakings that engage in anti-competitive practices is incompatible with the internal market. Introduction For State aid to be compatible with the internal market, it may not infringe any other provision of the Treaty or secondary legislation. Occasionally, the Commission finds State aid measures to be incompatible with the internal market because they contain clauses that exclude foreign […]

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!

Submit your guest blog post

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