Since 2002 Lexxion Publisher’s European State Aid Law Quarterly – EStAL serves as a forum for dialogue and deliberation on all issues related to State aid. On the occasion of our 15th anniversary special feature we have gathered our State aid family to reflect upon their joint journey together with our precious EStAL and of course our favourite topic State aid. Throughout our jubilee year we will introduce you to our State aid aficionados providing original and behind-the-scenes insights into our community of experts including our distinct editorial board members, country correspondents, regular contributors and more.
Today we welcome Ilkka Aalto-Setälä, EStAL’s Country Correspondent for Finland, from Borenius Attorneys Ltd in Helsinki to the StateAidHub. What’s his deal with State aid and why is it the most important field of competition law?
When and how did you get involved with State Aid Law?
A decade ago I was lucky to get the assignment from the Finnish Ministry of Transport. The European Commission was investigating whether the demerger of the Finnish road administration involved State aid. The split created the publicly owned Tieliikelaitos (now Destia) to compete in the field of construction and maintenance of roads. The settled matter has brought similar cases from the government and private companies.
Why is State aid law important and to whom?
State aid law is a most important field of competition law since competition is distorted with public funding. It is easy to motivate younger lawyers to enter into the world of State aid matters. State aid scrutiny benefits taxpayers more than other fields of competition law.
What role does EStAL play and what’s its impact?
EStAL is the only comprehensive and naturally the best known State aid periodical. It is essential for the successful practice.
What will the future of State aid bring?
The next State aid milestone is related to private enforcement. This has already been seen in the cartel damages cases. The legal grounds for State aid matters are already there but the possibility has not been exploited yet in Finland. Clear cut State aid cases do not even require for the European Commission to investigate the matter before claims for damages.
Thank you Ilkka for these insights into your story with State aid and EStAL. We are looking forward to taking the next milestone with EStAL!