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!

- selectivity ×

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Mac
Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Environmental Remediation and State Liability

Liability assumed by the state for the actions of an undertaking constitutes a selective advantage that may result in potential transfer of state resources in the future. Introduction On 16 January 2020 the General Court delivered its judgment in case T‑257/18, Iberpotash v European Commission.[1] Iberpotash, a Spanish company, appealed against Commission decision 2018/118. Iberpotash owns and operates potash mines […]

The Operator of an Economic Infrastructure is an Undertaking

The assignment of public service tasks to an infrastructure operator is not sufficient to prevent the application of State aid rules. Introduction The characterisation of an entity as an undertaking is activity based, not status based. If it carries out activities for which there is a market, it becomes an undertaking, regardless of providing services which are in the general […]

Selectivity Requires Comparison

To determine whether a measure is selective it is necessary to compare the beneficiary companies to other companies which are in a similar situation and determine whether the latter receive the same advantage. Introduction[1]   On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice delivered three judgments in appeals against rulings of the General Court concerning the expansion of digital terrestrial television […]

Part II: Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

airplane
The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

1) Selectivity of Health Tests 2) Existing v New Aid in Preferential Electricity Tariffs

A measure can be selective even if it applies to a whole sector. An existing aid measure becomes new when a court extends it temporarily.   Introduction This article reviews two judgments: one on BSE tests in Belgium and another on preferential electricity tariffs in Greece. The issue at hand with respect to the BSE test was whether a measure […]

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, […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part II – Advantage and Selectivity

This is the second article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article focused on the concepts of economic activity and state resources.** Next week’s article will conclude with a presentation of the conditions under which trade is affected and competition distorted and an analysis of the application of […]

Special Tax Treatment to Alleviate Structural Disadvantages

Favourable tax treatment to alleviate “structural disadvantages” suffered by certain companies is a selective measure that falls within the scope of Article 107(1).   Introduction Member States use taxes not just to raise revenue but also as instruments of public policy. They impose taxes on activities they want to discourage [e.g. smoking, driving] and they relieve from taxes activities they […]

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 […]

Do Free but Compulsory Tests Confer a Selective Advantage?

State aid rules apply to measures which are either harmonised at EU level or are left to the discretion of Member States. The protection of public health is no sufficient reason for removing a public measure from the scope of Article 107(1). The fact that undertakings are obliged by law to comply with certain tests does not justify the subsidisation […]

Black Cabs in London Retain ‘Exclusive’ Rights to Drive in Bus Lanes

black cab
A detailed note on Case C-518/13 The Queen, on the application of Eventech Ltd v The Parking Adjudicator (judgment of 14th January 2015) An enduring feature of EU law is that it may be used in an opportunist manner in some of the lowest tribunals in the EU to create challenges to national rules and policies. This was how the Eventech case arose. […]

Tax Measures with Specific Objectives Can still Be General

A tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset. Conditions for the application of a tax measure may be justified by the logic of the tax system. The Commission may not use Article 107(3) to assess the compatibility with the internal market of a tax measure that […]

The Jurisdictional Side of Selectivity

Lady Justice
A measure determined independently by similar public entities is not selective even if it varies across those entities. A measure is selective when the entity that has adopted it, applies it differently to undertakings which are within its jurisdiction and in a comparable situation. A public entity may differentiate its measures provided the differentiation can be objectively justified. Introduction   […]

- selectivity ×

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Mac
Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Environmental Remediation and State Liability

Liability assumed by the state for the actions of an undertaking constitutes a selective advantage that may result in potential transfer of state resources in the future. Introduction On 16 January 2020 the General Court delivered its judgment in case T‑257/18, Iberpotash v European Commission.[1] Iberpotash, a Spanish company, appealed against Commission decision 2018/118. Iberpotash owns and operates potash mines […]

The Operator of an Economic Infrastructure is an Undertaking

The assignment of public service tasks to an infrastructure operator is not sufficient to prevent the application of State aid rules. Introduction The characterisation of an entity as an undertaking is activity based, not status based. If it carries out activities for which there is a market, it becomes an undertaking, regardless of providing services which are in the general […]

Selectivity Requires Comparison

To determine whether a measure is selective it is necessary to compare the beneficiary companies to other companies which are in a similar situation and determine whether the latter receive the same advantage. Introduction[1]   On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice delivered three judgments in appeals against rulings of the General Court concerning the expansion of digital terrestrial television […]

Part II: Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

airplane
The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

1) Selectivity of Health Tests 2) Existing v New Aid in Preferential Electricity Tariffs

A measure can be selective even if it applies to a whole sector. An existing aid measure becomes new when a court extends it temporarily.   Introduction This article reviews two judgments: one on BSE tests in Belgium and another on preferential electricity tariffs in Greece. The issue at hand with respect to the BSE test was whether a measure […]

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, […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part II – Advantage and Selectivity

This is the second article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article focused on the concepts of economic activity and state resources.** Next week’s article will conclude with a presentation of the conditions under which trade is affected and competition distorted and an analysis of the application of […]

Special Tax Treatment to Alleviate Structural Disadvantages

Favourable tax treatment to alleviate “structural disadvantages” suffered by certain companies is a selective measure that falls within the scope of Article 107(1).   Introduction Member States use taxes not just to raise revenue but also as instruments of public policy. They impose taxes on activities they want to discourage [e.g. smoking, driving] and they relieve from taxes activities they […]

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 […]

Do Free but Compulsory Tests Confer a Selective Advantage?

State aid rules apply to measures which are either harmonised at EU level or are left to the discretion of Member States. The protection of public health is no sufficient reason for removing a public measure from the scope of Article 107(1). The fact that undertakings are obliged by law to comply with certain tests does not justify the subsidisation […]

Black Cabs in London Retain ‘Exclusive’ Rights to Drive in Bus Lanes

black cab
A detailed note on Case C-518/13 The Queen, on the application of Eventech Ltd v The Parking Adjudicator (judgment of 14th January 2015) An enduring feature of EU law is that it may be used in an opportunist manner in some of the lowest tribunals in the EU to create challenges to national rules and policies. This was how the Eventech case arose. […]

Tax Measures with Specific Objectives Can still Be General

A tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset. Conditions for the application of a tax measure may be justified by the logic of the tax system. The Commission may not use Article 107(3) to assess the compatibility with the internal market of a tax measure that […]

The Jurisdictional Side of Selectivity

Lady Justice
A measure determined independently by similar public entities is not selective even if it varies across those entities. A measure is selective when the entity that has adopted it, applies it differently to undertakings which are within its jurisdiction and in a comparable situation. A public entity may differentiate its measures provided the differentiation can be objectively justified. Introduction   […]

- selectivity ×

Taxation of Multinational Companies: The Apple Case – A Political Setback for the Commission, but a Victory on Principle

Mac
Defects, incompleteness and inconsistencies in tax rulings are not sufficient to prove the existence of an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 17 July 2020: 213* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 21; Article 107(3)(b): 179; Article 107(3)(c): 18 Five Member States have implemented 13 or more […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Environmental Remediation and State Liability

Liability assumed by the state for the actions of an undertaking constitutes a selective advantage that may result in potential transfer of state resources in the future. Introduction On 16 January 2020 the General Court delivered its judgment in case T‑257/18, Iberpotash v European Commission.[1] Iberpotash, a Spanish company, appealed against Commission decision 2018/118. Iberpotash owns and operates potash mines […]

The Operator of an Economic Infrastructure is an Undertaking

The assignment of public service tasks to an infrastructure operator is not sufficient to prevent the application of State aid rules. Introduction The characterisation of an entity as an undertaking is activity based, not status based. If it carries out activities for which there is a market, it becomes an undertaking, regardless of providing services which are in the general […]

Selectivity Requires Comparison

To determine whether a measure is selective it is necessary to compare the beneficiary companies to other companies which are in a similar situation and determine whether the latter receive the same advantage. Introduction[1]   On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice delivered three judgments in appeals against rulings of the General Court concerning the expansion of digital terrestrial television […]

Part II: Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

Developments on the Concepts of Advantage and Selectivity

airplane
The advantage conferred by State aid is not necessarily equivalent to the economic benefit that is eventually enjoyed by aid recipients. Incompatible State aid has to be repaid regardless of whether it is passed on to the customers of the aid recipients. Undertakings derive an advantage when state intervention reduces the costs they would bear under “normal market conditions” whereby […]

1) Selectivity of Health Tests 2) Existing v New Aid in Preferential Electricity Tariffs

A measure can be selective even if it applies to a whole sector. An existing aid measure becomes new when a court extends it temporarily.   Introduction This article reviews two judgments: one on BSE tests in Belgium and another on preferential electricity tariffs in Greece. The issue at hand with respect to the BSE test was whether a measure […]

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, […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part II – Advantage and Selectivity

This is the second article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article focused on the concepts of economic activity and state resources.** Next week’s article will conclude with a presentation of the conditions under which trade is affected and competition distorted and an analysis of the application of […]

Special Tax Treatment to Alleviate Structural Disadvantages

Favourable tax treatment to alleviate “structural disadvantages” suffered by certain companies is a selective measure that falls within the scope of Article 107(1).   Introduction Member States use taxes not just to raise revenue but also as instruments of public policy. They impose taxes on activities they want to discourage [e.g. smoking, driving] and they relieve from taxes activities they […]

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 […]

Do Free but Compulsory Tests Confer a Selective Advantage?

State aid rules apply to measures which are either harmonised at EU level or are left to the discretion of Member States. The protection of public health is no sufficient reason for removing a public measure from the scope of Article 107(1). The fact that undertakings are obliged by law to comply with certain tests does not justify the subsidisation […]

Black Cabs in London Retain ‘Exclusive’ Rights to Drive in Bus Lanes

black cab
A detailed note on Case C-518/13 The Queen, on the application of Eventech Ltd v The Parking Adjudicator (judgment of 14th January 2015) An enduring feature of EU law is that it may be used in an opportunist manner in some of the lowest tribunals in the EU to create challenges to national rules and policies. This was how the Eventech case arose. […]

Tax Measures with Specific Objectives Can still Be General

A tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset. Conditions for the application of a tax measure may be justified by the logic of the tax system. The Commission may not use Article 107(3) to assess the compatibility with the internal market of a tax measure that […]

The Jurisdictional Side of Selectivity

Lady Justice
A measure determined independently by similar public entities is not selective even if it varies across those entities. A measure is selective when the entity that has adopted it, applies it differently to undertakings which are within its jurisdiction and in a comparable situation. A public entity may differentiate its measures provided the differentiation can be objectively justified. Introduction   […]

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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