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

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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 […]

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 […]

Another Case of Indirect State Aid

Introduction On 19 May 2021, the General Court, in case T-643/20, Ryanair v Commission, annulled Commission decision SA.57116 by which it authorised State aid in favour of KLM in the context of the measures implemented by the Dutch government to address the covid-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the Commission re-adopted its original decision without the errors that had been identified […]

Indirect Advantage

Introduction It is an established principle in the State aid case law that Article 107(1) TFEU applies both to direct and possibly indirect aid beneficiaries. Yet, it is not always easy to identify any indirect beneficiaries. On 15 November 2023, the General Court, in case T-167/21, European Gaming and Betting Association v European Commission, faulted the latter for failing to […]

State Guarantees

Introduction Public authorities often grant guarantees to undertakings so that the latter can borrow commercial loans at lower rates of interest. The 2008 Commission Notice on guarantees sets out four cumulative conditions that create a presumption that a state guarantee is free of State aid: 1. The borrower is not in financial difficulty. 2. The guarantee must be linked to […]

Compensation for Damage

Introduction On 28 September 2023, the Court of Justice, in case C-320/21 P, Ryanair v European Commission, delivered its first judgment in a series of appeals brought by Ryanair challenging the dismissal by the General Court of its action in multiple cases seeking the annulment of various Commission decisions authorising aid to airlines during the covid-19 pandemic. Both before the […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Non-imposition of Fines on Non-illegal Behaviour

Introduction Advantage is any benefit that an undertaking obtains from the intervention of the state. In some situations, however, an undertaking may derive an advantage the non-intervention of the state or, more broadly, from the failure of the state to act. This would be the case where the state does not charge a fee to a user of a state […]

Transactions at Market Rates Can still Confer an Advantage that Constitutes State aid (PART II)

Introduction When public authorities buy goods and services for themselves, they have to pay a market price, otherwise they confer an abnormal advantage to the sellers. On 14 June 2023, the General Court, in case T‑79/21, Ryanair & Airport Marketing Services v European Commission, ruled that public authorities still confer an abnormal advantage by buying good and services that they […]

- advantage ×

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 […]

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 […]

Another Case of Indirect State Aid

Introduction On 19 May 2021, the General Court, in case T-643/20, Ryanair v Commission, annulled Commission decision SA.57116 by which it authorised State aid in favour of KLM in the context of the measures implemented by the Dutch government to address the covid-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the Commission re-adopted its original decision without the errors that had been identified […]

Indirect Advantage

Introduction It is an established principle in the State aid case law that Article 107(1) TFEU applies both to direct and possibly indirect aid beneficiaries. Yet, it is not always easy to identify any indirect beneficiaries. On 15 November 2023, the General Court, in case T-167/21, European Gaming and Betting Association v European Commission, faulted the latter for failing to […]

State Guarantees

Introduction Public authorities often grant guarantees to undertakings so that the latter can borrow commercial loans at lower rates of interest. The 2008 Commission Notice on guarantees sets out four cumulative conditions that create a presumption that a state guarantee is free of State aid: 1. The borrower is not in financial difficulty. 2. The guarantee must be linked to […]

Compensation for Damage

Introduction On 28 September 2023, the Court of Justice, in case C-320/21 P, Ryanair v European Commission, delivered its first judgment in a series of appeals brought by Ryanair challenging the dismissal by the General Court of its action in multiple cases seeking the annulment of various Commission decisions authorising aid to airlines during the covid-19 pandemic. Both before the […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Non-imposition of Fines on Non-illegal Behaviour

Introduction Advantage is any benefit that an undertaking obtains from the intervention of the state. In some situations, however, an undertaking may derive an advantage the non-intervention of the state or, more broadly, from the failure of the state to act. This would be the case where the state does not charge a fee to a user of a state […]

Transactions at Market Rates Can still Confer an Advantage that Constitutes State aid (PART II)

Introduction When public authorities buy goods and services for themselves, they have to pay a market price, otherwise they confer an abnormal advantage to the sellers. On 14 June 2023, the General Court, in case T‑79/21, Ryanair & Airport Marketing Services v European Commission, ruled that public authorities still confer an abnormal advantage by buying good and services that they […]

- advantage ×

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 […]

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 […]

Another Case of Indirect State Aid

Introduction On 19 May 2021, the General Court, in case T-643/20, Ryanair v Commission, annulled Commission decision SA.57116 by which it authorised State aid in favour of KLM in the context of the measures implemented by the Dutch government to address the covid-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the Commission re-adopted its original decision without the errors that had been identified […]

Indirect Advantage

Introduction It is an established principle in the State aid case law that Article 107(1) TFEU applies both to direct and possibly indirect aid beneficiaries. Yet, it is not always easy to identify any indirect beneficiaries. On 15 November 2023, the General Court, in case T-167/21, European Gaming and Betting Association v European Commission, faulted the latter for failing to […]

State Guarantees

Introduction Public authorities often grant guarantees to undertakings so that the latter can borrow commercial loans at lower rates of interest. The 2008 Commission Notice on guarantees sets out four cumulative conditions that create a presumption that a state guarantee is free of State aid: 1. The borrower is not in financial difficulty. 2. The guarantee must be linked to […]

Compensation for Damage

Introduction On 28 September 2023, the Court of Justice, in case C-320/21 P, Ryanair v European Commission, delivered its first judgment in a series of appeals brought by Ryanair challenging the dismissal by the General Court of its action in multiple cases seeking the annulment of various Commission decisions authorising aid to airlines during the covid-19 pandemic. Both before the […]

Advance Tax Rulings

Introduction In 2016, the Commission found, in decision 2016/1699, that advance tax rulings [ATRs] that had been provided by Belgium to multi-national companies [MNCs] with establishments in Belgium constituted State aid because the ATRs set the taxable income of those companies according to a hypothetical average income rather than their actual income. The profit that exceeded that hypothetical average was […]

Non-imposition of Fines on Non-illegal Behaviour

Introduction Advantage is any benefit that an undertaking obtains from the intervention of the state. In some situations, however, an undertaking may derive an advantage the non-intervention of the state or, more broadly, from the failure of the state to act. This would be the case where the state does not charge a fee to a user of a state […]

Transactions at Market Rates Can still Confer an Advantage that Constitutes State aid (PART II)

Introduction When public authorities buy goods and services for themselves, they have to pay a market price, otherwise they confer an abnormal advantage to the sellers. On 14 June 2023, the General Court, in case T‑79/21, Ryanair & Airport Marketing Services v European Commission, ruled that public authorities still confer an abnormal advantage by buying good and services that they […]

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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