Europäisches Beihilfenrecht Blog

State Aid Uncovered by Prof Phedon Nicolaides

In Lexxions Blog „State Aid Uncovered” veröffentlicht Prof. Phedon Nicolaides wöchentlich kritische Analysen zu den neuesten Urteilen und Entscheidungen zu staatlichen Beihilfen. Jeder Beitrag stellt die wichtigsten Punkte eines Gerichtsurteils oder einer EU-Kommissionsentscheidung vor, ordnet sie in den Kontext ähnlicher Rechtsprechung oder Praxis ein, bewertet die zugrundeliegende Argumentation und zeigt etwaige Ungereimtheiten oder Widersprüche auf.

In loser Folge werden auf diesem Blog auch Gastbeiträge von anderen Experten für staatliche Beihilfen veröffentlicht, welche die Inhalte der Blogbeiträge ergänzen.

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

State Aid Uncovered ×

Electricity Produced from High-Efficiency Combined Heat & Power Plants

News: The Commission has approved a draft block exemption regulation declaring certain categories of aid in the rail, inland waterways and multimodal transport sector compatible with the internal market on the basis of Article 93. The draft regulation can be accessed at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C_202404539 Introduction The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive [EED] [Directive 2012/27, as last amended in 2023 by Directive 2023/1791] […]

Compliance with EU State Aid Rules

On 8 July 2024, the European Court of Auditors published its Overview of the Assurance Framework and the Key Factors Contributing to Errors in 2014-2020 Cohesion Spending, (Review 3, 2024) The main findings of the ECA concerning compliance with State aid rules can be summarised in the following two tables. 1) Most frequent errors [2018-22] (% of all errors) and […]

Repayment of Incompatible State Aid Is Inescapable

Introduction Companies may pay taxes in several Member States of the EU or in third countries. This fact by itself has no bearing in an assessment of whether preferential tax treatment in a Member State may constitute State aid. However, it becomes relevant when incompatible aid is to be recovered and the granting Member State has to determine the amount […]

The Commission May Authorise a Public Measure only if it Constitutes State Aid

Introduction Sometimes the Commission is uncertain whether a public measure constitutes State aid. Nonetheless, it decides not raise objections on the grounds that if the measure constituted State aid, it would be compatible with the internal market. One can understand why the Commission follows this approach. If it is not sure whether a measure falls outside the scope of Article […]

Green Energy Certificates

Introduction Certificates that confirm that an undertaking has bought a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources do not normally involve State aid because they are not traded. However, when they are tradeable and are granted by a public authority for free or for a fee that falls below their market value, they normally involve State aid as they confer […]

Obligations Imposed by the State Cannot Justify Tax Exemptions

Introduction Over the past decade or so, the European Commission has found that multiple port operators have benefitted from State aid in the form of tax exemptions. This aid was in all cases found to be incompatible with the internal market, despite the claims of the port operators that the state had imposed on the public service obligations or that […]

Member States May Grant State Aid to Single Beneficiaries

Introduction The European Court of Justice confirmed, once more, on 30 May 2024, in case C-353/21 P, Ryanair v Commission, that Member States do not have to grant State aid to all undertakings that may be affected by a serious economic disturbance such as a pandemic.2 This is because Member States do not have unlimited resources and because they may […]

Special Tax Treatment for a Major Infrastructure Project

Introduction In April 2013, the Commission received a complaint alleging that State aid had been granted to the Oresund fixed link. The link is a major transport infrastructure project consisting of a bridge, an artificial island and tunnels between Denmark and Sweden. In October 2014, the Commission concluded that the public funding of the hinterland road and rail connections was […]

A Research Project Based on Collaboration with a Research Organisation

Introduction After pre-notification contacts, Croatia notified, in March 2023, State aid amounting to a EUR 179.5 million for an R&D project regarding the development of an innovative autonomous electric vehicle [a “robo-taxi”]. The aid, in the form of a grant, was to be provided to Project 3 Mobility LLC [P3M]. The Commission approved it in decision SA.101759.1 The aid beneficiary, […]

Authorisation of State Aid after the Start of a Project

Introduction In June 2021, the European Commission, in decision SA.55526, approved an amount of EUR 167 million of State aid for the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas [LNG] terminal close to Alexandroupolis in northern Greece. In December 2022, Greece notified a measure involving additional State aid of EUR 106 million for the same project. The Commission authorised […]

State Aid Uncovered ×

Electricity Produced from High-Efficiency Combined Heat & Power Plants

News: The Commission has approved a draft block exemption regulation declaring certain categories of aid in the rail, inland waterways and multimodal transport sector compatible with the internal market on the basis of Article 93. The draft regulation can be accessed at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C_202404539 Introduction The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive [EED] [Directive 2012/27, as last amended in 2023 by Directive 2023/1791] […]

Compliance with EU State Aid Rules

On 8 July 2024, the European Court of Auditors published its Overview of the Assurance Framework and the Key Factors Contributing to Errors in 2014-2020 Cohesion Spending, (Review 3, 2024) The main findings of the ECA concerning compliance with State aid rules can be summarised in the following two tables. 1) Most frequent errors [2018-22] (% of all errors) and […]

Repayment of Incompatible State Aid Is Inescapable

Introduction Companies may pay taxes in several Member States of the EU or in third countries. This fact by itself has no bearing in an assessment of whether preferential tax treatment in a Member State may constitute State aid. However, it becomes relevant when incompatible aid is to be recovered and the granting Member State has to determine the amount […]

The Commission May Authorise a Public Measure only if it Constitutes State Aid

Introduction Sometimes the Commission is uncertain whether a public measure constitutes State aid. Nonetheless, it decides not raise objections on the grounds that if the measure constituted State aid, it would be compatible with the internal market. One can understand why the Commission follows this approach. If it is not sure whether a measure falls outside the scope of Article […]

Green Energy Certificates

Introduction Certificates that confirm that an undertaking has bought a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources do not normally involve State aid because they are not traded. However, when they are tradeable and are granted by a public authority for free or for a fee that falls below their market value, they normally involve State aid as they confer […]

Obligations Imposed by the State Cannot Justify Tax Exemptions

Introduction Over the past decade or so, the European Commission has found that multiple port operators have benefitted from State aid in the form of tax exemptions. This aid was in all cases found to be incompatible with the internal market, despite the claims of the port operators that the state had imposed on the public service obligations or that […]

Member States May Grant State Aid to Single Beneficiaries

Introduction The European Court of Justice confirmed, once more, on 30 May 2024, in case C-353/21 P, Ryanair v Commission, that Member States do not have to grant State aid to all undertakings that may be affected by a serious economic disturbance such as a pandemic.2 This is because Member States do not have unlimited resources and because they may […]

Special Tax Treatment for a Major Infrastructure Project

Introduction In April 2013, the Commission received a complaint alleging that State aid had been granted to the Oresund fixed link. The link is a major transport infrastructure project consisting of a bridge, an artificial island and tunnels between Denmark and Sweden. In October 2014, the Commission concluded that the public funding of the hinterland road and rail connections was […]

A Research Project Based on Collaboration with a Research Organisation

Introduction After pre-notification contacts, Croatia notified, in March 2023, State aid amounting to a EUR 179.5 million for an R&D project regarding the development of an innovative autonomous electric vehicle [a “robo-taxi”]. The aid, in the form of a grant, was to be provided to Project 3 Mobility LLC [P3M]. The Commission approved it in decision SA.101759.1 The aid beneficiary, […]

Authorisation of State Aid after the Start of a Project

Introduction In June 2021, the European Commission, in decision SA.55526, approved an amount of EUR 167 million of State aid for the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas [LNG] terminal close to Alexandroupolis in northern Greece. In December 2022, Greece notified a measure involving additional State aid of EUR 106 million for the same project. The Commission authorised […]

State Aid Uncovered ×

Electricity Produced from High-Efficiency Combined Heat & Power Plants

News: The Commission has approved a draft block exemption regulation declaring certain categories of aid in the rail, inland waterways and multimodal transport sector compatible with the internal market on the basis of Article 93. The draft regulation can be accessed at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C_202404539 Introduction The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive [EED] [Directive 2012/27, as last amended in 2023 by Directive 2023/1791] […]

Compliance with EU State Aid Rules

On 8 July 2024, the European Court of Auditors published its Overview of the Assurance Framework and the Key Factors Contributing to Errors in 2014-2020 Cohesion Spending, (Review 3, 2024) The main findings of the ECA concerning compliance with State aid rules can be summarised in the following two tables. 1) Most frequent errors [2018-22] (% of all errors) and […]

Repayment of Incompatible State Aid Is Inescapable

Introduction Companies may pay taxes in several Member States of the EU or in third countries. This fact by itself has no bearing in an assessment of whether preferential tax treatment in a Member State may constitute State aid. However, it becomes relevant when incompatible aid is to be recovered and the granting Member State has to determine the amount […]

The Commission May Authorise a Public Measure only if it Constitutes State Aid

Introduction Sometimes the Commission is uncertain whether a public measure constitutes State aid. Nonetheless, it decides not raise objections on the grounds that if the measure constituted State aid, it would be compatible with the internal market. One can understand why the Commission follows this approach. If it is not sure whether a measure falls outside the scope of Article […]

Green Energy Certificates

Introduction Certificates that confirm that an undertaking has bought a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources do not normally involve State aid because they are not traded. However, when they are tradeable and are granted by a public authority for free or for a fee that falls below their market value, they normally involve State aid as they confer […]

Obligations Imposed by the State Cannot Justify Tax Exemptions

Introduction Over the past decade or so, the European Commission has found that multiple port operators have benefitted from State aid in the form of tax exemptions. This aid was in all cases found to be incompatible with the internal market, despite the claims of the port operators that the state had imposed on the public service obligations or that […]

Member States May Grant State Aid to Single Beneficiaries

Introduction The European Court of Justice confirmed, once more, on 30 May 2024, in case C-353/21 P, Ryanair v Commission, that Member States do not have to grant State aid to all undertakings that may be affected by a serious economic disturbance such as a pandemic.2 This is because Member States do not have unlimited resources and because they may […]

Special Tax Treatment for a Major Infrastructure Project

Introduction In April 2013, the Commission received a complaint alleging that State aid had been granted to the Oresund fixed link. The link is a major transport infrastructure project consisting of a bridge, an artificial island and tunnels between Denmark and Sweden. In October 2014, the Commission concluded that the public funding of the hinterland road and rail connections was […]

A Research Project Based on Collaboration with a Research Organisation

Introduction After pre-notification contacts, Croatia notified, in March 2023, State aid amounting to a EUR 179.5 million for an R&D project regarding the development of an innovative autonomous electric vehicle [a “robo-taxi”]. The aid, in the form of a grant, was to be provided to Project 3 Mobility LLC [P3M]. The Commission approved it in decision SA.101759.1 The aid beneficiary, […]

Authorisation of State Aid after the Start of a Project

Introduction In June 2021, the European Commission, in decision SA.55526, approved an amount of EUR 167 million of State aid for the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas [LNG] terminal close to Alexandroupolis in northern Greece. In December 2022, Greece notified a measure involving additional State aid of EUR 106 million for the same project. The Commission authorised […]

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