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!

- economic advantage ×

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. […]

Advantage through Contracts

A price below the regulated normal price confers an advantage. Competition is distorted even when the aid recipient does not expand its operations.   Introduction An undertaking can obtain an advantage without receiving an outright grant. The advantage may be hidden in a contract for the supply of an essential input at reduced prices. This is the issue tackled by […]

Turnover Taxes Can be Incompatible with the Internal Market

Progressive taxes levied on turnover can provide State aid that is incompatible with the internal market. Flat turnover taxes are proportional and therefore likely to be free of State aid.   Introduction Hungary wanted to levy two types of turnover taxes whose purpose was to protect health. The first tax was levied on tobacco products.[1] The Commission found, in decision 2016/1846, […]

Compensatory Payments Can still Confer an Advantage

Membership of a compulsory insurance scheme can still confer an advantage to participating undertakings. Private contributions can still become state resources if they are paid into a fund that is managed by the state. Member States always have the option to ask for a measure to be assessed directly on the basis of the Treaty but they have to justify […]

Possible Advantage from the Exclusive Use of Public-Funded Infrastructure

The exclusive use of a public asset or an asset funded by public money may confer an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU if several competitors express their interest to use the same asset.   Introduction As public authorities are becoming more aware that placing public assets at the disposal of undertakings can involve State aid, they increasingly […]

Nature Conservation as a Service of General Economic Interest

Public funding of non-economic activities does not create State aid problems when any related economic activities are clearly separated. The 2012 SGEI package can apply retroactively.   Introduction Member States of the European Union are free to designate the services they consider to be in the general economic interest. However, the wide discretion they enjoy in this respect falls under […]

Valuation of Assets Disposed by the State

The value of an asset can be determined according to different methods. The main methods examine future income or comparable transactions or stock market valuation. Agreements between sellers and buyers that contain indemnification clauses or settle past claims do not reflect the true market value of the sold asset.   Introduction 9 December 2015, the General Court rendered its judgment […]

Investment and Operating Aid to Airports

State aid is granted on the date the relevant public authority makes an irrevocable commitment to grant it or creates a legal entitlement for the beneficiary. Loans that impose public policy obligations on borrowers are not in conformity with the behaviour of a private investor.   Introduction This is a rather long article because it examines a rich case that […]

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Incompatible State Aid

Incompatible State aid must be recovered from “successor” companies which acquire previously aided companies and enable the latter to continue their operations without any change.     Introduction In this article I review two decisions in which the Commission determined that incompatible aid had to be recovered from “successor” companies. Those were companies which had obtained the assets of the […]

Should State Aid that Is Passed on to Consumers Not be Recovered?

Should the amount of recoverable aid be similarly reduced by the amount that is allegedly passed on to consumers? I will argue the case against it.   Introduction On 5 February 2015, the General Court, in cases T-473/12, Aer Lingus v Commission[1] and T-500/12, Ryanair v Commission[2], annulled Article 4 of Commission Decision 2013/199. In that decision the Commission found that a […]

When Do Public Pronouncements Confer an Advantage to Undertakings?

Public pronouncements can confer an advantage if they are sufficiently precise and clearly commit a public authority to support an undertaking.   Introduction[1] Politicians often claim that they would never allow important national companies to go bust. Occasionally, such claims appear to sway market sentiment in favour of those companies. Private investors are heartened by the avowed support of the […]

A National Measure that Does Not Apply at Regional Level Is Not Necessarily Selective

Where there is a constitutional division of tax competences, different authorities may tax similar activities at different rates.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision SA.34469 on differential tax rates for online and land-based gambling in Spain.[1] In the Spanish political system, regions that have the status of Autonomous Communities have powers of taxation. The issue at hand was which authority […]

- economic advantage ×

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. […]

Advantage through Contracts

A price below the regulated normal price confers an advantage. Competition is distorted even when the aid recipient does not expand its operations.   Introduction An undertaking can obtain an advantage without receiving an outright grant. The advantage may be hidden in a contract for the supply of an essential input at reduced prices. This is the issue tackled by […]

Turnover Taxes Can be Incompatible with the Internal Market

Progressive taxes levied on turnover can provide State aid that is incompatible with the internal market. Flat turnover taxes are proportional and therefore likely to be free of State aid.   Introduction Hungary wanted to levy two types of turnover taxes whose purpose was to protect health. The first tax was levied on tobacco products.[1] The Commission found, in decision 2016/1846, […]

Compensatory Payments Can still Confer an Advantage

Membership of a compulsory insurance scheme can still confer an advantage to participating undertakings. Private contributions can still become state resources if they are paid into a fund that is managed by the state. Member States always have the option to ask for a measure to be assessed directly on the basis of the Treaty but they have to justify […]

Possible Advantage from the Exclusive Use of Public-Funded Infrastructure

The exclusive use of a public asset or an asset funded by public money may confer an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU if several competitors express their interest to use the same asset.   Introduction As public authorities are becoming more aware that placing public assets at the disposal of undertakings can involve State aid, they increasingly […]

Nature Conservation as a Service of General Economic Interest

Public funding of non-economic activities does not create State aid problems when any related economic activities are clearly separated. The 2012 SGEI package can apply retroactively.   Introduction Member States of the European Union are free to designate the services they consider to be in the general economic interest. However, the wide discretion they enjoy in this respect falls under […]

Valuation of Assets Disposed by the State

The value of an asset can be determined according to different methods. The main methods examine future income or comparable transactions or stock market valuation. Agreements between sellers and buyers that contain indemnification clauses or settle past claims do not reflect the true market value of the sold asset.   Introduction 9 December 2015, the General Court rendered its judgment […]

Investment and Operating Aid to Airports

State aid is granted on the date the relevant public authority makes an irrevocable commitment to grant it or creates a legal entitlement for the beneficiary. Loans that impose public policy obligations on borrowers are not in conformity with the behaviour of a private investor.   Introduction This is a rather long article because it examines a rich case that […]

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Incompatible State Aid

Incompatible State aid must be recovered from “successor” companies which acquire previously aided companies and enable the latter to continue their operations without any change.     Introduction In this article I review two decisions in which the Commission determined that incompatible aid had to be recovered from “successor” companies. Those were companies which had obtained the assets of the […]

Should State Aid that Is Passed on to Consumers Not be Recovered?

Should the amount of recoverable aid be similarly reduced by the amount that is allegedly passed on to consumers? I will argue the case against it.   Introduction On 5 February 2015, the General Court, in cases T-473/12, Aer Lingus v Commission[1] and T-500/12, Ryanair v Commission[2], annulled Article 4 of Commission Decision 2013/199. In that decision the Commission found that a […]

When Do Public Pronouncements Confer an Advantage to Undertakings?

Public pronouncements can confer an advantage if they are sufficiently precise and clearly commit a public authority to support an undertaking.   Introduction[1] Politicians often claim that they would never allow important national companies to go bust. Occasionally, such claims appear to sway market sentiment in favour of those companies. Private investors are heartened by the avowed support of the […]

A National Measure that Does Not Apply at Regional Level Is Not Necessarily Selective

Where there is a constitutional division of tax competences, different authorities may tax similar activities at different rates.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision SA.34469 on differential tax rates for online and land-based gambling in Spain.[1] In the Spanish political system, regions that have the status of Autonomous Communities have powers of taxation. The issue at hand was which authority […]

- economic advantage ×

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. […]

Advantage through Contracts

A price below the regulated normal price confers an advantage. Competition is distorted even when the aid recipient does not expand its operations.   Introduction An undertaking can obtain an advantage without receiving an outright grant. The advantage may be hidden in a contract for the supply of an essential input at reduced prices. This is the issue tackled by […]

Turnover Taxes Can be Incompatible with the Internal Market

Progressive taxes levied on turnover can provide State aid that is incompatible with the internal market. Flat turnover taxes are proportional and therefore likely to be free of State aid.   Introduction Hungary wanted to levy two types of turnover taxes whose purpose was to protect health. The first tax was levied on tobacco products.[1] The Commission found, in decision 2016/1846, […]

Compensatory Payments Can still Confer an Advantage

Membership of a compulsory insurance scheme can still confer an advantage to participating undertakings. Private contributions can still become state resources if they are paid into a fund that is managed by the state. Member States always have the option to ask for a measure to be assessed directly on the basis of the Treaty but they have to justify […]

Possible Advantage from the Exclusive Use of Public-Funded Infrastructure

The exclusive use of a public asset or an asset funded by public money may confer an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU if several competitors express their interest to use the same asset.   Introduction As public authorities are becoming more aware that placing public assets at the disposal of undertakings can involve State aid, they increasingly […]

Nature Conservation as a Service of General Economic Interest

Public funding of non-economic activities does not create State aid problems when any related economic activities are clearly separated. The 2012 SGEI package can apply retroactively.   Introduction Member States of the European Union are free to designate the services they consider to be in the general economic interest. However, the wide discretion they enjoy in this respect falls under […]

Valuation of Assets Disposed by the State

The value of an asset can be determined according to different methods. The main methods examine future income or comparable transactions or stock market valuation. Agreements between sellers and buyers that contain indemnification clauses or settle past claims do not reflect the true market value of the sold asset.   Introduction 9 December 2015, the General Court rendered its judgment […]

Investment and Operating Aid to Airports

State aid is granted on the date the relevant public authority makes an irrevocable commitment to grant it or creates a legal entitlement for the beneficiary. Loans that impose public policy obligations on borrowers are not in conformity with the behaviour of a private investor.   Introduction This is a rather long article because it examines a rich case that […]

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Incompatible State Aid

Incompatible State aid must be recovered from “successor” companies which acquire previously aided companies and enable the latter to continue their operations without any change.     Introduction In this article I review two decisions in which the Commission determined that incompatible aid had to be recovered from “successor” companies. Those were companies which had obtained the assets of the […]

Should State Aid that Is Passed on to Consumers Not be Recovered?

Should the amount of recoverable aid be similarly reduced by the amount that is allegedly passed on to consumers? I will argue the case against it.   Introduction On 5 February 2015, the General Court, in cases T-473/12, Aer Lingus v Commission[1] and T-500/12, Ryanair v Commission[2], annulled Article 4 of Commission Decision 2013/199. In that decision the Commission found that a […]

When Do Public Pronouncements Confer an Advantage to Undertakings?

Public pronouncements can confer an advantage if they are sufficiently precise and clearly commit a public authority to support an undertaking.   Introduction[1] Politicians often claim that they would never allow important national companies to go bust. Occasionally, such claims appear to sway market sentiment in favour of those companies. Private investors are heartened by the avowed support of the […]

A National Measure that Does Not Apply at Regional Level Is Not Necessarily Selective

Where there is a constitutional division of tax competences, different authorities may tax similar activities at different rates.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision SA.34469 on differential tax rates for online and land-based gambling in Spain.[1] In the Spanish political system, regions that have the status of Autonomous Communities have powers of taxation. The issue at hand was which authority […]

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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