State Aid Law Blog

State Aid Uncovered by Prof Phedon Nicolaides

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.

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Professor at Maastricht University; Professor at University of Nicosia, and Academic Director at Lexxion Training

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Using the Correct Methodology to Calculate Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the extra costs of a public service obligation may include a reasonable profit that reflects the risk borne by the provider of the public service.   Introduction   The calculation of the amount of compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations can be difficult and tricky. In the absence of such calculation, aid to providers of […]

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 […]

Public Service Obligations and Award for Damages

Providers of public services must keep separate accounts. The parameters for calculating the compensation for the extra costs of public services must be determined in advance. Awards for damages do not constitute State aid. However, no damages can be awarded as a substitute for incompatible State aid.   Introduction It is often asked how compensation measures for public service obligations […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Levying Taxes to Fund Public Broadcasters

Taxes may not be examined by the Commission in the context of Article 107 even if they finance State aid measures. By contrast, the Commission may examine a tax in the context of its assessment of the compatibility of aid with the internal market when the tax is inseparable from an aid measure. A tax is inseparable from an aid […]

Sale of Public Assets, SGEI and Electricity Levies

Revenue from levies on electricity users is most likely to constitute State resources. Public service obligations can be transferred from one electricity-generating company to another. Compensation for public service obligations may distinguish between controllable and uncontrollable costs. Performance benchmarking can be used as a means for inducing efficiency. Electricity levies may not directly or indirectly discriminate against imported electricity. Introduction   This is a […]

Price Discounts and Compensation for Public Service Obligations: A Case of Questionable Need for Aid

SGEI can be defined and public service obligations can be imposed only when the market underprovides. The parameters of compensation must be determined in advance. Public service compensation may not exceed the next extra costs of the SGEI or PSO. Member States are free to devise their own method of compensation, but irrespective of the method used, compensation must comply with the basic […]

The Importance of Precise Definition of Public Service Obligations

The imposition of a public service obligation must be preceded by market analysis that shows that the market underprovides. For compensation of public service obligations to be compatible aid, it must satisfy the first three Altmark criteria. Surprisingly, the first three Altmark criteria must also be satisfied [in addition to the 4th criterion] for public service compensation in order not to constitute […]

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Using the Correct Methodology to Calculate Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the extra costs of a public service obligation may include a reasonable profit that reflects the risk borne by the provider of the public service.   Introduction   The calculation of the amount of compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations can be difficult and tricky. In the absence of such calculation, aid to providers of […]

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 […]

Public Service Obligations and Award for Damages

Providers of public services must keep separate accounts. The parameters for calculating the compensation for the extra costs of public services must be determined in advance. Awards for damages do not constitute State aid. However, no damages can be awarded as a substitute for incompatible State aid.   Introduction It is often asked how compensation measures for public service obligations […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Levying Taxes to Fund Public Broadcasters

Taxes may not be examined by the Commission in the context of Article 107 even if they finance State aid measures. By contrast, the Commission may examine a tax in the context of its assessment of the compatibility of aid with the internal market when the tax is inseparable from an aid measure. A tax is inseparable from an aid […]

Sale of Public Assets, SGEI and Electricity Levies

Revenue from levies on electricity users is most likely to constitute State resources. Public service obligations can be transferred from one electricity-generating company to another. Compensation for public service obligations may distinguish between controllable and uncontrollable costs. Performance benchmarking can be used as a means for inducing efficiency. Electricity levies may not directly or indirectly discriminate against imported electricity. Introduction   This is a […]

Price Discounts and Compensation for Public Service Obligations: A Case of Questionable Need for Aid

SGEI can be defined and public service obligations can be imposed only when the market underprovides. The parameters of compensation must be determined in advance. Public service compensation may not exceed the next extra costs of the SGEI or PSO. Member States are free to devise their own method of compensation, but irrespective of the method used, compensation must comply with the basic […]

The Importance of Precise Definition of Public Service Obligations

The imposition of a public service obligation must be preceded by market analysis that shows that the market underprovides. For compensation of public service obligations to be compatible aid, it must satisfy the first three Altmark criteria. Surprisingly, the first three Altmark criteria must also be satisfied [in addition to the 4th criterion] for public service compensation in order not to constitute […]

- PSC ×

Using the Correct Methodology to Calculate Public Service Compensation

Compensation for the extra costs of a public service obligation may include a reasonable profit that reflects the risk borne by the provider of the public service.   Introduction   The calculation of the amount of compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations can be difficult and tricky. In the absence of such calculation, aid to providers of […]

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 […]

Public Service Obligations and Award for Damages

Providers of public services must keep separate accounts. The parameters for calculating the compensation for the extra costs of public services must be determined in advance. Awards for damages do not constitute State aid. However, no damages can be awarded as a substitute for incompatible State aid.   Introduction It is often asked how compensation measures for public service obligations […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Levying Taxes to Fund Public Broadcasters

Taxes may not be examined by the Commission in the context of Article 107 even if they finance State aid measures. By contrast, the Commission may examine a tax in the context of its assessment of the compatibility of aid with the internal market when the tax is inseparable from an aid measure. A tax is inseparable from an aid […]

Sale of Public Assets, SGEI and Electricity Levies

Revenue from levies on electricity users is most likely to constitute State resources. Public service obligations can be transferred from one electricity-generating company to another. Compensation for public service obligations may distinguish between controllable and uncontrollable costs. Performance benchmarking can be used as a means for inducing efficiency. Electricity levies may not directly or indirectly discriminate against imported electricity. Introduction   This is a […]

Price Discounts and Compensation for Public Service Obligations: A Case of Questionable Need for Aid

SGEI can be defined and public service obligations can be imposed only when the market underprovides. The parameters of compensation must be determined in advance. Public service compensation may not exceed the next extra costs of the SGEI or PSO. Member States are free to devise their own method of compensation, but irrespective of the method used, compensation must comply with the basic […]

The Importance of Precise Definition of Public Service Obligations

The imposition of a public service obligation must be preceded by market analysis that shows that the market underprovides. For compensation of public service obligations to be compatible aid, it must satisfy the first three Altmark criteria. Surprisingly, the first three Altmark criteria must also be satisfied [in addition to the 4th criterion] for public service compensation in order not to constitute […]

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 [email protected].

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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