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.

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

Guest State Aid Blog ×

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 […]

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

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 […]

State Aid for the Resolution of a Polish bank

Introduction Whenever a bank seeks State aid, it must be considered as “failing or likely to fail”. A failing bank must be liquidated or resolved. Resolution means that the critical functions of the bank are preserved while the rest are wound down. Critical functions are those that impact significantly the real economy such as deposits, loans to SMEs or payments. […]

Tax Advantages and Competitive Bidding

Introduction Award of contracts or sale of state assets through competitive bidding procedures or tenders are presumed to result in a market prices and to confer no advantage to the winner in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. However, on 25 January 2023, the General Court ruled, in case T-666/21, Società Navigazione Siciliana v European Commission, that certain tax advantages […]

The Private Acquirer Test: An Illuminating and also Puzzling Judgment

A public authority may act as a market operator and acquire services through a private third party without conferring an advantage to the provider of those services. Introduction When a public authority buys a service and pays the market price it does not confer an advantage to the seller in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Even if it pursues […]

The Value of Land

Different valuation methods do not confer a selective advantage if they generate similar results. Introduction Land or immovable property has no intrinsic value. Its value depends on how the land or property is used. In turn, how it is used is determined by several factors such as its location, and the applicable zoning rules. A plot of land in an […]

Public Authorities Acting as Private Investors

It is a well-established principle in the case law that when a public authority acts as a private investor, it must disregard all public policy objectives and its obligations as an arm of the state. Many judgments of EU courts and Commission decisions have examined in detail the various elements that underpin the reasoning of a private investor such as […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

Guest State Aid Blog ×

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 […]

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

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 […]

State Aid for the Resolution of a Polish bank

Introduction Whenever a bank seeks State aid, it must be considered as “failing or likely to fail”. A failing bank must be liquidated or resolved. Resolution means that the critical functions of the bank are preserved while the rest are wound down. Critical functions are those that impact significantly the real economy such as deposits, loans to SMEs or payments. […]

Tax Advantages and Competitive Bidding

Introduction Award of contracts or sale of state assets through competitive bidding procedures or tenders are presumed to result in a market prices and to confer no advantage to the winner in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. However, on 25 January 2023, the General Court ruled, in case T-666/21, Società Navigazione Siciliana v European Commission, that certain tax advantages […]

The Private Acquirer Test: An Illuminating and also Puzzling Judgment

A public authority may act as a market operator and acquire services through a private third party without conferring an advantage to the provider of those services. Introduction When a public authority buys a service and pays the market price it does not confer an advantage to the seller in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Even if it pursues […]

The Value of Land

Different valuation methods do not confer a selective advantage if they generate similar results. Introduction Land or immovable property has no intrinsic value. Its value depends on how the land or property is used. In turn, how it is used is determined by several factors such as its location, and the applicable zoning rules. A plot of land in an […]

Public Authorities Acting as Private Investors

It is a well-established principle in the case law that when a public authority acts as a private investor, it must disregard all public policy objectives and its obligations as an arm of the state. Many judgments of EU courts and Commission decisions have examined in detail the various elements that underpin the reasoning of a private investor such as […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

Guest State Aid Blog ×

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 […]

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

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 […]

State Aid for the Resolution of a Polish bank

Introduction Whenever a bank seeks State aid, it must be considered as “failing or likely to fail”. A failing bank must be liquidated or resolved. Resolution means that the critical functions of the bank are preserved while the rest are wound down. Critical functions are those that impact significantly the real economy such as deposits, loans to SMEs or payments. […]

Tax Advantages and Competitive Bidding

Introduction Award of contracts or sale of state assets through competitive bidding procedures or tenders are presumed to result in a market prices and to confer no advantage to the winner in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. However, on 25 January 2023, the General Court ruled, in case T-666/21, Società Navigazione Siciliana v European Commission, that certain tax advantages […]

The Private Acquirer Test: An Illuminating and also Puzzling Judgment

A public authority may act as a market operator and acquire services through a private third party without conferring an advantage to the provider of those services. Introduction When a public authority buys a service and pays the market price it does not confer an advantage to the seller in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. Even if it pursues […]

The Value of Land

Different valuation methods do not confer a selective advantage if they generate similar results. Introduction Land or immovable property has no intrinsic value. Its value depends on how the land or property is used. In turn, how it is used is determined by several factors such as its location, and the applicable zoning rules. A plot of land in an […]

Public Authorities Acting as Private Investors

It is a well-established principle in the case law that when a public authority acts as a private investor, it must disregard all public policy objectives and its obligations as an arm of the state. Many judgments of EU courts and Commission decisions have examined in detail the various elements that underpin the reasoning of a private investor such as […]

Special Economic Zones

State Aid Blogs - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 29
Member States must check that the State aid claimed by undertakings established in special economic zones concern activities that are actually carried out within those zones. Introduction Several Member States have special economic zones in which companies enjoy preferential tax treatment. These zones can be divided into two categories: those that can be found mostly in the new Member States […]

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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