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!

- TFEU ×

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

corona virus
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 […]

Non-recovery of Incompatible State aid Is Costly

corona virus poster
Legal and practical difficulties in the recovery of incompatible State aid do not constitute justifiable “absolute impossibility”. Temporary Framework On 1 May, the total number of State aid measures to combat covid-19 approved by the European Commission reached 102. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 86; Article 107(3)(c): 7   Introduction The 2020 Temporary Framework for State […]

Identification of Undertakings in Difficulty

corona virus poster
A company is in difficulty if, in practice, its accumulated net losses exceed 50% of its subscribed capital, regardless of whether the subscribed capital is formally written down. The classification of a company as being in difficulty is independent of the sector in which it operates and of whether a private investor would be willing to invest in it. Temporary […]

How to Price a Guarantee

Football ball on a field
The pricing of a guarantee must take into account not only the financial situation of the borrower but also the value of any collateral. Temporary Framework As of 17 April 2020, the European Commission authorised 61 State aid measures from 23 Member States and the UK to combat covid-19.   Introduction State guarantees on loans make up the largest category […]

Compensation to a Toll Road Operator

Contractual obligation to provide compensation that does not exceed the loss of income is not State aid. Introduction When is a company entitled to compensation by the state? The easy answer is “when the state is liable for damage”. However, it may be possible for a company to claim compensation from the state when the state has assumed contractual obligations. […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

Public Procurement and State Aid

State aid does not have to be awarded on the basis of a competitive procedure, unless the relevant rules require it. Secondary legislation may allow Member States to make direct awards without a prior competitive procedure. Public procurement rules do not apply to awards between contracting authorities.   Introduction   Public procurement and State aid rules have the same basic […]

Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the provision of public services may not exceed the avoidable cost minus any forgone revenue from not having to provide those services. The VAT exemption for postal services is not State aid because it is laid down in the EU VAT directive and therefore cannot be attributed to Member States.   Introduction This article reviews Commission decision on […]

Revision of the GBER

Block exemption of new financial instruments.   Introduction   The Commission has recently published a proposal for amendment of Council Regulation 2015/1588[1] which authorises the Commission to adopt block exemption regulations. The purpose of the Commission’s proposal is to expand Article 1 of Regulation 2015/1588. This Article lists the categories of aid that may be declared compatible with the internal market.The […]

Remedying the Damage of a Natural Disaster through Incentives for New Investments

Damage from natural disasters can be remedied in the short-term through direct compensation or in the longer-term through investment subsidies to support new productive capacity.   Introduction   This article reviews a rather straightforward case which, however, is also quite unusual. It concerns a measure to remedy the effect of recent earthquakes in Italy. What makes it unusual is that […]

State Aid for the Deployment of Broadband Networks

Most State aid for the development of broadband networks is approved by the Commission. But the aid must be limited only to areas where market-based investments are unlikely to be made without aid.   Introduction   This article reviews a recent Commission decision authorising State aid for broadband development in the Netherlands which is one of the most networked countries […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part II

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part I

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

Is there any Advantage for Owners, Operators or Users of Publicly Funded Ports?

Public funding of ports confers an advantage to their owners, but not for operators chosen competitively or users who pay a market price.   Introduction Few issues have exercised public authorities more than the funding of infrastructure which is used for commercial purposes. This is because State aid may benefit the owner and/or the operator and/or the users of the […]

The Treatment of Advisory and Information Services under State Aid Rules: The Case of the German Milk Levy

Public funding of advisory and information activities may constitute State aid. Public funding of industry associations may constitute State aid.   Introduction An article that was published on this blog in January (view the article HERE) dealt with the issue of compulsory tests. If tests which are intended to safeguard public health are paid for by the state, is there any […]

- TFEU ×

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

corona virus
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 […]

Non-recovery of Incompatible State aid Is Costly

corona virus poster
Legal and practical difficulties in the recovery of incompatible State aid do not constitute justifiable “absolute impossibility”. Temporary Framework On 1 May, the total number of State aid measures to combat covid-19 approved by the European Commission reached 102. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 86; Article 107(3)(c): 7   Introduction The 2020 Temporary Framework for State […]

Identification of Undertakings in Difficulty

corona virus poster
A company is in difficulty if, in practice, its accumulated net losses exceed 50% of its subscribed capital, regardless of whether the subscribed capital is formally written down. The classification of a company as being in difficulty is independent of the sector in which it operates and of whether a private investor would be willing to invest in it. Temporary […]

How to Price a Guarantee

Football ball on a field
The pricing of a guarantee must take into account not only the financial situation of the borrower but also the value of any collateral. Temporary Framework As of 17 April 2020, the European Commission authorised 61 State aid measures from 23 Member States and the UK to combat covid-19.   Introduction State guarantees on loans make up the largest category […]

Compensation to a Toll Road Operator

Contractual obligation to provide compensation that does not exceed the loss of income is not State aid. Introduction When is a company entitled to compensation by the state? The easy answer is “when the state is liable for damage”. However, it may be possible for a company to claim compensation from the state when the state has assumed contractual obligations. […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

Public Procurement and State Aid

State aid does not have to be awarded on the basis of a competitive procedure, unless the relevant rules require it. Secondary legislation may allow Member States to make direct awards without a prior competitive procedure. Public procurement rules do not apply to awards between contracting authorities.   Introduction   Public procurement and State aid rules have the same basic […]

Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the provision of public services may not exceed the avoidable cost minus any forgone revenue from not having to provide those services. The VAT exemption for postal services is not State aid because it is laid down in the EU VAT directive and therefore cannot be attributed to Member States.   Introduction This article reviews Commission decision on […]

Revision of the GBER

Block exemption of new financial instruments.   Introduction   The Commission has recently published a proposal for amendment of Council Regulation 2015/1588[1] which authorises the Commission to adopt block exemption regulations. The purpose of the Commission’s proposal is to expand Article 1 of Regulation 2015/1588. This Article lists the categories of aid that may be declared compatible with the internal market.The […]

Remedying the Damage of a Natural Disaster through Incentives for New Investments

Damage from natural disasters can be remedied in the short-term through direct compensation or in the longer-term through investment subsidies to support new productive capacity.   Introduction   This article reviews a rather straightforward case which, however, is also quite unusual. It concerns a measure to remedy the effect of recent earthquakes in Italy. What makes it unusual is that […]

State Aid for the Deployment of Broadband Networks

Most State aid for the development of broadband networks is approved by the Commission. But the aid must be limited only to areas where market-based investments are unlikely to be made without aid.   Introduction   This article reviews a recent Commission decision authorising State aid for broadband development in the Netherlands which is one of the most networked countries […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part II

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part I

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

Is there any Advantage for Owners, Operators or Users of Publicly Funded Ports?

Public funding of ports confers an advantage to their owners, but not for operators chosen competitively or users who pay a market price.   Introduction Few issues have exercised public authorities more than the funding of infrastructure which is used for commercial purposes. This is because State aid may benefit the owner and/or the operator and/or the users of the […]

The Treatment of Advisory and Information Services under State Aid Rules: The Case of the German Milk Levy

Public funding of advisory and information activities may constitute State aid. Public funding of industry associations may constitute State aid.   Introduction An article that was published on this blog in January (view the article HERE) dealt with the issue of compulsory tests. If tests which are intended to safeguard public health are paid for by the state, is there any […]

- TFEU ×

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

corona virus
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 […]

Non-recovery of Incompatible State aid Is Costly

corona virus poster
Legal and practical difficulties in the recovery of incompatible State aid do not constitute justifiable “absolute impossibility”. Temporary Framework On 1 May, the total number of State aid measures to combat covid-19 approved by the European Commission reached 102. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 86; Article 107(3)(c): 7   Introduction The 2020 Temporary Framework for State […]

Identification of Undertakings in Difficulty

corona virus poster
A company is in difficulty if, in practice, its accumulated net losses exceed 50% of its subscribed capital, regardless of whether the subscribed capital is formally written down. The classification of a company as being in difficulty is independent of the sector in which it operates and of whether a private investor would be willing to invest in it. Temporary […]

How to Price a Guarantee

Football ball on a field
The pricing of a guarantee must take into account not only the financial situation of the borrower but also the value of any collateral. Temporary Framework As of 17 April 2020, the European Commission authorised 61 State aid measures from 23 Member States and the UK to combat covid-19.   Introduction State guarantees on loans make up the largest category […]

Compensation to a Toll Road Operator

Contractual obligation to provide compensation that does not exceed the loss of income is not State aid. Introduction When is a company entitled to compensation by the state? The easy answer is “when the state is liable for damage”. However, it may be possible for a company to claim compensation from the state when the state has assumed contractual obligations. […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

Public Procurement and State Aid

State aid does not have to be awarded on the basis of a competitive procedure, unless the relevant rules require it. Secondary legislation may allow Member States to make direct awards without a prior competitive procedure. Public procurement rules do not apply to awards between contracting authorities.   Introduction   Public procurement and State aid rules have the same basic […]

Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the provision of public services may not exceed the avoidable cost minus any forgone revenue from not having to provide those services. The VAT exemption for postal services is not State aid because it is laid down in the EU VAT directive and therefore cannot be attributed to Member States.   Introduction This article reviews Commission decision on […]

Revision of the GBER

Block exemption of new financial instruments.   Introduction   The Commission has recently published a proposal for amendment of Council Regulation 2015/1588[1] which authorises the Commission to adopt block exemption regulations. The purpose of the Commission’s proposal is to expand Article 1 of Regulation 2015/1588. This Article lists the categories of aid that may be declared compatible with the internal market.The […]

Remedying the Damage of a Natural Disaster through Incentives for New Investments

Damage from natural disasters can be remedied in the short-term through direct compensation or in the longer-term through investment subsidies to support new productive capacity.   Introduction   This article reviews a rather straightforward case which, however, is also quite unusual. It concerns a measure to remedy the effect of recent earthquakes in Italy. What makes it unusual is that […]

State Aid for the Deployment of Broadband Networks

Most State aid for the development of broadband networks is approved by the Commission. But the aid must be limited only to areas where market-based investments are unlikely to be made without aid.   Introduction   This article reviews a recent Commission decision authorising State aid for broadband development in the Netherlands which is one of the most networked countries […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part II

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Exemption from Taxes that Protect the Environment May not be Selective – Part I

Member States have discretion to impose taxes that penalise environmentally harmful activities. Exemption of undertakings whose activities do not harm the environment does not constitute State aid whenever the exempted undertakings are not in a comparable situation.   Application of Article 107(1) to the Asturias tax   In this case, exempted establishments were those with sales area less than 4000m2 or […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

Is there any Advantage for Owners, Operators or Users of Publicly Funded Ports?

Public funding of ports confers an advantage to their owners, but not for operators chosen competitively or users who pay a market price.   Introduction Few issues have exercised public authorities more than the funding of infrastructure which is used for commercial purposes. This is because State aid may benefit the owner and/or the operator and/or the users of the […]

The Treatment of Advisory and Information Services under State Aid Rules: The Case of the German Milk Levy

Public funding of advisory and information activities may constitute State aid. Public funding of industry associations may constitute State aid.   Introduction An article that was published on this blog in January (view the article HERE) dealt with the issue of compulsory tests. If tests which are intended to safeguard public health are paid for by the state, is there any […]

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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