Europäisches Beihilfenrecht Blog

State Aid Uncovered Blog/Guest State Aid 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!

- SME ×

The Concept of SME, Indirect Control by Public Bodies and New Problems for Public Universities and Research Organisations

I am grateful to Peter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft. A company that is owned by more than 25% by public bodies is not considered to be an SME, regardless of whether those public bodies actually exercise direct or indirect control. A public university can be a public body. Temporary Framework Update: Number of approved and published covid-19 […]

Member States Beware: Compliance with the GBER and the SME Criteria has just Become more Difficult

I am grateful to Péter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft of this article. I am solely responsible for its contents. The European Commission retains its sole right to assess the compatibility of aid granted on the basis of the GBER. Criteria defined in national law need not be taken into account by the Commission. The SME status has […]

Collective Insolvency and the GBER

The eligibility of an aid applicant and the legality of the aid are determined at the point when the aid is granted. If afterwards the aid recipient ceases to be an SME or enters in financial difficulties it is not a relevant issue.   Introduction When Member States grant aid on the basis of the General Block Exemption Regulation [Regulation […]

Financial Cooperatives

National courts may not question Commission decisions but they may ask the Court of Justice for guidance on how to interpret Commission decisions. Protection of shareholders of a particular category of companies is a selective measure. Introduction This is the last article dealing with the judgments that were rendered by EU courts on 21 December 2016. This article reviews the reply […]

Ex post Monitoring of a Risk Capital Fund

Ex post monitoring will be pursued vigorously by the Commission. Irregularities in the implementation of State aid measures may lead to the opening of the formal investigation procedure.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision concerning a UK risk capital scheme entitled Enterprise Capital Funds [SA.15373 and SA.33186]. The decision is the outcome of an investigation that was initiated after […]

The New General Block Exemption Regulation: The Cornerstone of the State Aid Regime, 2014-2020

office table
The new GBER at a glance Common Provisions: aid must be transparent, must have incentive effect, rules on cumulation, and aid measures and awards must be published. Specific Provisions: Thirteen categories and many types of aid. Exclusions: no export aid, no mandated use of domestic products, no aid to firms in difficulty, no provisions that violate EU law, and no aid to […]

SMEs Linked through Natural Persons

corporate building
Two or more enterprises may constitute a single undertaking when their owners and/or managers are related in a way that they can act jointly to exercise influence over the decision of those enterprises. Introduction   On 27 February 2014, the Court of Justice rendered a judgment on the notion of “linked enterprises” following a request for preliminary ruling from a […]

An Assessment of the State Aid Consistency of Financial Instruments Supported by Structural and Investment Funds (Regulation 1303/2013)

coins on the table
Introduction Last week I reviewed the new State aid guidelines on risk finance. This week I will examine the provisions on financial instruments in the new structural and investment funds regulation. The regulation was published in the Official Journal just before Christmas. Both sets of rules have been updated on the basis of similar principles. The primary aim of both […]

Guidelines on State Aid to Promote Risk Finance Investments

financial graph
Introduction   On 15 January the Commission adopted the fourth set of guidelines for the programming period 2014-2020 [the first three were those on broadband, SGEI, and regional aid]. The latest guidelines replaced those on risk capital for SMEs. What is immediately noticeable from the title of the new guidelines is that they are not confined only to funding in […]

- SME ×

The Concept of SME, Indirect Control by Public Bodies and New Problems for Public Universities and Research Organisations

I am grateful to Peter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft. A company that is owned by more than 25% by public bodies is not considered to be an SME, regardless of whether those public bodies actually exercise direct or indirect control. A public university can be a public body. Temporary Framework Update: Number of approved and published covid-19 […]

Member States Beware: Compliance with the GBER and the SME Criteria has just Become more Difficult

I am grateful to Péter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft of this article. I am solely responsible for its contents. The European Commission retains its sole right to assess the compatibility of aid granted on the basis of the GBER. Criteria defined in national law need not be taken into account by the Commission. The SME status has […]

Collective Insolvency and the GBER

The eligibility of an aid applicant and the legality of the aid are determined at the point when the aid is granted. If afterwards the aid recipient ceases to be an SME or enters in financial difficulties it is not a relevant issue.   Introduction When Member States grant aid on the basis of the General Block Exemption Regulation [Regulation […]

Financial Cooperatives

National courts may not question Commission decisions but they may ask the Court of Justice for guidance on how to interpret Commission decisions. Protection of shareholders of a particular category of companies is a selective measure. Introduction This is the last article dealing with the judgments that were rendered by EU courts on 21 December 2016. This article reviews the reply […]

Ex post Monitoring of a Risk Capital Fund

Ex post monitoring will be pursued vigorously by the Commission. Irregularities in the implementation of State aid measures may lead to the opening of the formal investigation procedure.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision concerning a UK risk capital scheme entitled Enterprise Capital Funds [SA.15373 and SA.33186]. The decision is the outcome of an investigation that was initiated after […]

The New General Block Exemption Regulation: The Cornerstone of the State Aid Regime, 2014-2020

office table
The new GBER at a glance Common Provisions: aid must be transparent, must have incentive effect, rules on cumulation, and aid measures and awards must be published. Specific Provisions: Thirteen categories and many types of aid. Exclusions: no export aid, no mandated use of domestic products, no aid to firms in difficulty, no provisions that violate EU law, and no aid to […]

SMEs Linked through Natural Persons

corporate building
Two or more enterprises may constitute a single undertaking when their owners and/or managers are related in a way that they can act jointly to exercise influence over the decision of those enterprises. Introduction   On 27 February 2014, the Court of Justice rendered a judgment on the notion of “linked enterprises” following a request for preliminary ruling from a […]

An Assessment of the State Aid Consistency of Financial Instruments Supported by Structural and Investment Funds (Regulation 1303/2013)

coins on the table
Introduction Last week I reviewed the new State aid guidelines on risk finance. This week I will examine the provisions on financial instruments in the new structural and investment funds regulation. The regulation was published in the Official Journal just before Christmas. Both sets of rules have been updated on the basis of similar principles. The primary aim of both […]

Guidelines on State Aid to Promote Risk Finance Investments

financial graph
Introduction   On 15 January the Commission adopted the fourth set of guidelines for the programming period 2014-2020 [the first three were those on broadband, SGEI, and regional aid]. The latest guidelines replaced those on risk capital for SMEs. What is immediately noticeable from the title of the new guidelines is that they are not confined only to funding in […]

- SME ×

The Concept of SME, Indirect Control by Public Bodies and New Problems for Public Universities and Research Organisations

I am grateful to Peter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft. A company that is owned by more than 25% by public bodies is not considered to be an SME, regardless of whether those public bodies actually exercise direct or indirect control. A public university can be a public body. Temporary Framework Update: Number of approved and published covid-19 […]

Member States Beware: Compliance with the GBER and the SME Criteria has just Become more Difficult

I am grateful to Péter Staviczky for comments on an earlier draft of this article. I am solely responsible for its contents. The European Commission retains its sole right to assess the compatibility of aid granted on the basis of the GBER. Criteria defined in national law need not be taken into account by the Commission. The SME status has […]

Collective Insolvency and the GBER

The eligibility of an aid applicant and the legality of the aid are determined at the point when the aid is granted. If afterwards the aid recipient ceases to be an SME or enters in financial difficulties it is not a relevant issue.   Introduction When Member States grant aid on the basis of the General Block Exemption Regulation [Regulation […]

Financial Cooperatives

National courts may not question Commission decisions but they may ask the Court of Justice for guidance on how to interpret Commission decisions. Protection of shareholders of a particular category of companies is a selective measure. Introduction This is the last article dealing with the judgments that were rendered by EU courts on 21 December 2016. This article reviews the reply […]

Ex post Monitoring of a Risk Capital Fund

Ex post monitoring will be pursued vigorously by the Commission. Irregularities in the implementation of State aid measures may lead to the opening of the formal investigation procedure.   Introduction This article examines Commission decision concerning a UK risk capital scheme entitled Enterprise Capital Funds [SA.15373 and SA.33186]. The decision is the outcome of an investigation that was initiated after […]

The New General Block Exemption Regulation: The Cornerstone of the State Aid Regime, 2014-2020

office table
The new GBER at a glance Common Provisions: aid must be transparent, must have incentive effect, rules on cumulation, and aid measures and awards must be published. Specific Provisions: Thirteen categories and many types of aid. Exclusions: no export aid, no mandated use of domestic products, no aid to firms in difficulty, no provisions that violate EU law, and no aid to […]

SMEs Linked through Natural Persons

corporate building
Two or more enterprises may constitute a single undertaking when their owners and/or managers are related in a way that they can act jointly to exercise influence over the decision of those enterprises. Introduction   On 27 February 2014, the Court of Justice rendered a judgment on the notion of “linked enterprises” following a request for preliminary ruling from a […]

An Assessment of the State Aid Consistency of Financial Instruments Supported by Structural and Investment Funds (Regulation 1303/2013)

coins on the table
Introduction Last week I reviewed the new State aid guidelines on risk finance. This week I will examine the provisions on financial instruments in the new structural and investment funds regulation. The regulation was published in the Official Journal just before Christmas. Both sets of rules have been updated on the basis of similar principles. The primary aim of both […]

Guidelines on State Aid to Promote Risk Finance Investments

financial graph
Introduction   On 15 January the Commission adopted the fourth set of guidelines for the programming period 2014-2020 [the first three were those on broadband, SGEI, and regional aid]. The latest guidelines replaced those on risk capital for SMEs. What is immediately noticeable from the title of the new guidelines is that they are not confined only to funding in […]

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 as a guest author:

Step 1: Submit your draft post as a Word file to stateaidhub[a]lexxion.eu.

Step 2: The StateAidHub team 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 send you a link to register and log-in to the State aid blog as a guest author.

Step 4: Once you have logged-in to the blog, you can upload and publish your post.

Step 5: Enjoy the fame!

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