State Aid Law Blog

State Aid Uncovered 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

Restructuring State Aid

Introduction State aid to failing undertakings is the most distortionary form of public subsidies. They prevent the market exit of inefficient companies. For this reason, State aid for rescue or restructuring of undertakings in difficulty must always be notified to the Commission which examines each case very carefully and allows this kind of aid only when, among other things, the […]

Public Procurement and State Aid

Introduction A faulty public procurement procedure or the use of discriminatory selection criteria can confer an advantage on the chosen undertaking that may constitute an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. The result will be infringement of both public procurement rules and State aid rules. A recent Commission decision, SA.47650, is instructive on how Member States should design […]

A Case of a Narrow Tax that Is Not Selective

Introduction On 17 April 2024, the General Court ruled, in case T-112/22, Ideella föreningen Svenska Bankföreningen med firma Svenska Bankföreningen, Näringsverksamhet & Länsförsäkringar Bank v Commission, that a Swedish tax on only nine banks was not selective by not taxing the many smaller banks.1 The applicants, a Swedish banking association and a Swedish bank, respectively, sought the annulment of Commission […]

Pricing of Access to Infrastructure for the Treatment of Waste Water

Introduction It is not unusual for EU courts to refer to the Commission’s 2016 Notice on the Notion of State Aid as a means of shedding light to the more obscure aspects of that notion. What is very unusual is for EU courts to treat the Notice as if it has the same status as the guidelines that bind the […]

Awards by Arbitration Tribunal

Introduction In an unusual judgment, the Court of Justice found on 14 March 2024, in case C-516/22, Commission v UK, that the UK had infringed Article 4(3) TEU, Article 108(3) TFEU, Article 267(1)&(3) TFEU and Article 351(1) TFEU, in conjunction with Article 127(1) of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU because the UK Supreme Court […]

An Innovative Risk-Sharing Tool for the Support of an LNG Terminal

Introduction The Commission, in decision SA.102163, authorised State aid for the construction of a terminal for liquefied natural gas [LNG] in Brunsbüttel, Germany.1 The project consists of an LNG import, storage and distribution facility with annual capacity of about 10 billion m3. The project is carried out by the German LNG Terminal GmbH [GLNG] which has three shareholders: the Dutch […]

The Court of Justice Conflates Objective Justification with Policy Objective, in the context of Public Support of Green Electricity

Introduction Suppose a Member State subsidises the installation of solar panels on the roof of a corporate building situated at number 5 on Main Street. Is this a general measure because there is no other building in the whole country with the same address? Of course, it is not a general measure. The uniqueness of the address is irrelevant. Apart […]

Applying the Funding Gap Method to an Important Project of Common European Interest – Part II

Introduction On 28 February 2024, the General Court delivered an important judgment in case T-390/20, Scandlines v Commission.(1) The judgment is important because it interpreted the Commission guidelines on Important Projects of Common European Interest [IPCEI], the funding gap methodology for determining the necessary amount of aid and the 2008 Commission Notice on state guarantees. Scandlines sought annulment of Commission […]

Applying the Funding Gap Method to an Important Project of Common European Interest – Part I

Introduction On 28 February 2024, the General Court delivered an important judgment in case T-390/20, Scandlines v Commission.(1) The judgment is important because it interpreted the Commission guidelines on Important Projects of Common European Interest [IPCEI], the funding gap methodology for determining the necessary amount of aid and the 2008 Commission Notice on state guarantees. Scandlines sought annulment of Commission […]

Public Infrastructure and State Prerogatives

Introduction On 28 February 2024, the General Court delivered two important judgments on the presence of State aid and its compatibility with the internal market in connection to public funding of the Fehmarn Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany. The Fixed Link is a major infrastructure project consisting of tunnels, bridges and access road and rail connections. The judgments of […]

Restructuring State Aid

Introduction State aid to failing undertakings is the most distortionary form of public subsidies. They prevent the market exit of inefficient companies. For this reason, State aid for rescue or restructuring of undertakings in difficulty must always be notified to the Commission which examines each case very carefully and allows this kind of aid only when, among other things, the […]

Public Procurement and State Aid

Introduction A faulty public procurement procedure or the use of discriminatory selection criteria can confer an advantage on the chosen undertaking that may constitute an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. The result will be infringement of both public procurement rules and State aid rules. A recent Commission decision, SA.47650, is instructive on how Member States should design […]

A Case of a Narrow Tax that Is Not Selective

Introduction On 17 April 2024, the General Court ruled, in case T-112/22, Ideella föreningen Svenska Bankföreningen med firma Svenska Bankföreningen, Näringsverksamhet & Länsförsäkringar Bank v Commission, that a Swedish tax on only nine banks was not selective by not taxing the many smaller banks.1 The applicants, a Swedish banking association and a Swedish bank, respectively, sought the annulment of Commission […]

Pricing of Access to Infrastructure for the Treatment of Waste Water

Introduction It is not unusual for EU courts to refer to the Commission’s 2016 Notice on the Notion of State Aid as a means of shedding light to the more obscure aspects of that notion. What is very unusual is for EU courts to treat the Notice as if it has the same status as the guidelines that bind the […]

Awards by Arbitration Tribunal

Introduction In an unusual judgment, the Court of Justice found on 14 March 2024, in case C-516/22, Commission v UK, that the UK had infringed Article 4(3) TEU, Article 108(3) TFEU, Article 267(1)&(3) TFEU and Article 351(1) TFEU, in conjunction with Article 127(1) of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU because the UK Supreme Court […]

An Innovative Risk-Sharing Tool for the Support of an LNG Terminal

Introduction The Commission, in decision SA.102163, authorised State aid for the construction of a terminal for liquefied natural gas [LNG] in Brunsbüttel, Germany.1 The project consists of an LNG import, storage and distribution facility with annual capacity of about 10 billion m3. The project is carried out by the German LNG Terminal GmbH [GLNG] which has three shareholders: the Dutch […]

The Court of Justice Conflates Objective Justification with Policy Objective, in the context of Public Support of Green Electricity

Introduction Suppose a Member State subsidises the installation of solar panels on the roof of a corporate building situated at number 5 on Main Street. Is this a general measure because there is no other building in the whole country with the same address? Of course, it is not a general measure. The uniqueness of the address is irrelevant. Apart […]

Applying the Funding Gap Method to an Important Project of Common European Interest – Part II

Introduction On 28 February 2024, the General Court delivered an important judgment in case T-390/20, Scandlines v Commission.(1) The judgment is important because it interpreted the Commission guidelines on Important Projects of Common European Interest [IPCEI], the funding gap methodology for determining the necessary amount of aid and the 2008 Commission Notice on state guarantees. Scandlines sought annulment of Commission […]

Public Infrastructure and State Prerogatives

Introduction On 28 February 2024, the General Court delivered two important judgments on the presence of State aid and its compatibility with the internal market in connection to public funding of the Fehmarn Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany. The Fixed Link is a major infrastructure project consisting of tunnels, bridges and access road and rail connections. The judgments of […]

State Aid and Arbitration of Disputes

Introduction On 22 February 2024, the Court of Justice [CJEU] delivered its judgment in joined Cases C-701/21 P and C-739/21 P, Mytilinaios v DEI & European Commission. Mytilinaios, a Greek company, and the Commission appealed against the judgment of the General Court in case T-639/14 RENV, DEI v Commission, concerning arbitration of a dispute between Mytilinaios and DEI, the main […]

The Interplay of R&D Works and Formal Incentive Effect Rules

The Interplay of R&D Works and Formal Incentive Effect Rules Michał Bernat.1 The issue mentioned in the title appears at first sight rather uncontroversial, as it is instinctively understood that research and development (R&D) works do not form part of an investment towards which they are directed, but this brief note raises certain issues arising in that respect which have […]

A Visionary XXX FIDE Congress Approaching

We’re happy to announce that Lexxion publisher has become a media partner to the FIDE Congress, one of the most distinguished events on EU law. Of particular interest for the readers of the State Aid blog and the EStAL quarterly is the second topic of the congress, dedicated to the new geopolitical dimension of the EU competition and trade policies. […]

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 […]

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 to Nelly Stratieva at stratieva@lexxion.eu.

Step 2: We at Lexxion 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 publish your post.

Submit your guest blog post

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