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!

- market economy investor principle ×

MEIP-Compliant Bank Recapitalisation: CEC Bank

An investor who is already a shareholder would take into account not only the return on new investment but also the impact on the overall profitability of the company in which capital is injected. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 14 August 2020: 252* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 27; Article 107(3)(b): 211; Article […]

How to Assess a Shareholder Loan

A shareholder loan cannot be simply compared to a bank loan because the shareholder also benefits from improvements in the future profitability of the borrower. Introduction When a public authority grants a loan to a company, the methodology in the 2008 Commission communication on reference and discount rates can be used to determine whether the loan contains State aid. However, […]

A Curious Case of Port Concessions

The obligations of a concessionaire may be made less onerous in order to enable it to remain in operation. Any adjustment of the obligations takes into account the possible legal defences of the concessionaire. Introduction The Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP] is a powerful concept. Its many variations attest to its versatility [e.g. market economy investor, operator, vendor, creditor]. It […]

Ex ante Assessment of Future Profitability is Absolutely Necessary

A private investor assesses the prospects of future profitability before it invests. The burden of proof lies with the Member State that claims it has acted as a private investor.   Introduction The market economy investor principle is based on a simple premise: before you commit your money you need to check how much you are likely to get back. […]

Investment in Airport Infrastructure

Public funding of infrastructure used for non-economic purposes does not constitute State aid. Public investment in infrastructure used for economic purposes does not constitute State aid if the investment can generate a return that is acceptable to a private investor.   Introduction   On 25 January 2018, the General Court ruled in case T-818/14, Brussels South Charleroi Airport v Commission.[1] Brussels […]

Imputability of an Aid Measure to the State Does not Require a Counterfactual

The fact that the state owns an undertaking is not enough to prove that the decisions of that undertaking can be attributed to the state. However, it is sufficient that the state was involved in the particular decision that transferred state resources for the benefit of another undertaking.   Introduction Several recent articles on this blog have examined the concept […]

Bank Recapitalisation that Conforms to the Market Economy Investor Principle

A public authority acts like a private investor when it injects capital in a stricken bank if there is a realistic prospect of sufficient return that compensates it for the risk it bears.   Introduction Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) is the largest bank in Portugal and is now fully owned by the State. In June 2012, Portugal notified to […]

How to Apply the Market Economy Investor Principle and what Mistakes to Avoid: The Long-running Case of EDF

A market investor carries out a thorough ex ante analysis of the prospects of an investment before it commits any money.     Introduction In 2004, the European Commission concluded, in decision 2005/145, that France granted incompatible aid to Electricite de France [EDF]. The French government had converted tax liability into share capital in EDF. The Commission was of the […]

Market Economy Investor Principle

Public investment is free of State aid when it is made at the same time and on equal terms with investments by private investors. In the absence of an equivalent private investment, public investment does not constitute State aid when it is demonstrated ex ante that it is capable of generating market rates of return.   Introduction Public authorities are […]

The Market Economy Investor Principle Applies also to Avoidance of Losses

A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to avoid costly contractual clauses. A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to bring forward future revenue. Introduction   When a market operator invests to make profit, its underlying logic is the same as when it pays to avoid losses. In both cases it is […]

Restructuring and the Market Economy Investor Principle

Different interventions that aim to finance the same restructuring plan constitute a single measure. A private investor may consider a possible damage of its reputation from laying off workers but the damage has to be quantified. Finance support of employees provides an indirect benefit to the employer. Introduction   In this article I review two similar cases: a judgment of […]

Objectively Justified Pricing: The Market Economy Operator Principle

office table
Introduction: Objective justification of price differentiation In a landmark judgment 25 years ago [February 1988], the Court of Justice established that business behaviour that appears to deviate from normal market practices can still conform with the market economy operator principle [MEOP] which is a variation of the better known market economy investor principle [MEIP]. Both principles are based on the […]

The Market Economy Vendor Principle: Sale of Public Land by the Dutch Municipality of Leidschendam-Voorburg [Commission Decision SA.24123]

Cadastre
The previous posting examined a case where the European Commission applied the Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP]. This is the principle that is used to determine whether there is state aid in commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings. According to Article 345 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [TFEU], the European Union is neutral with […]

The Curious Case of Applying the Market Economy Investor Principle to a Monopoly

monopoly game
On 3 October 2012, the European Commission concluded, in case SA.33988, that OPAP, the Greek operator of games of chance received no state aid because the Market Economy Investor Principle applied.[1] At first glance there is nothing unusual about a finding of no aid. But, as always, the devil is in the detail. OPAP holds the exclusive rights to organise various […]

- market economy investor principle ×

MEIP-Compliant Bank Recapitalisation: CEC Bank

An investor who is already a shareholder would take into account not only the return on new investment but also the impact on the overall profitability of the company in which capital is injected. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 14 August 2020: 252* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 27; Article 107(3)(b): 211; Article […]

How to Assess a Shareholder Loan

A shareholder loan cannot be simply compared to a bank loan because the shareholder also benefits from improvements in the future profitability of the borrower. Introduction When a public authority grants a loan to a company, the methodology in the 2008 Commission communication on reference and discount rates can be used to determine whether the loan contains State aid. However, […]

A Curious Case of Port Concessions

The obligations of a concessionaire may be made less onerous in order to enable it to remain in operation. Any adjustment of the obligations takes into account the possible legal defences of the concessionaire. Introduction The Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP] is a powerful concept. Its many variations attest to its versatility [e.g. market economy investor, operator, vendor, creditor]. It […]

Ex ante Assessment of Future Profitability is Absolutely Necessary

A private investor assesses the prospects of future profitability before it invests. The burden of proof lies with the Member State that claims it has acted as a private investor.   Introduction The market economy investor principle is based on a simple premise: before you commit your money you need to check how much you are likely to get back. […]

Investment in Airport Infrastructure

Public funding of infrastructure used for non-economic purposes does not constitute State aid. Public investment in infrastructure used for economic purposes does not constitute State aid if the investment can generate a return that is acceptable to a private investor.   Introduction   On 25 January 2018, the General Court ruled in case T-818/14, Brussels South Charleroi Airport v Commission.[1] Brussels […]

Imputability of an Aid Measure to the State Does not Require a Counterfactual

The fact that the state owns an undertaking is not enough to prove that the decisions of that undertaking can be attributed to the state. However, it is sufficient that the state was involved in the particular decision that transferred state resources for the benefit of another undertaking.   Introduction Several recent articles on this blog have examined the concept […]

Bank Recapitalisation that Conforms to the Market Economy Investor Principle

A public authority acts like a private investor when it injects capital in a stricken bank if there is a realistic prospect of sufficient return that compensates it for the risk it bears.   Introduction Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) is the largest bank in Portugal and is now fully owned by the State. In June 2012, Portugal notified to […]

How to Apply the Market Economy Investor Principle and what Mistakes to Avoid: The Long-running Case of EDF

A market investor carries out a thorough ex ante analysis of the prospects of an investment before it commits any money.     Introduction In 2004, the European Commission concluded, in decision 2005/145, that France granted incompatible aid to Electricite de France [EDF]. The French government had converted tax liability into share capital in EDF. The Commission was of the […]

Market Economy Investor Principle

Public investment is free of State aid when it is made at the same time and on equal terms with investments by private investors. In the absence of an equivalent private investment, public investment does not constitute State aid when it is demonstrated ex ante that it is capable of generating market rates of return.   Introduction Public authorities are […]

The Market Economy Investor Principle Applies also to Avoidance of Losses

A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to avoid costly contractual clauses. A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to bring forward future revenue. Introduction   When a market operator invests to make profit, its underlying logic is the same as when it pays to avoid losses. In both cases it is […]

Restructuring and the Market Economy Investor Principle

Different interventions that aim to finance the same restructuring plan constitute a single measure. A private investor may consider a possible damage of its reputation from laying off workers but the damage has to be quantified. Finance support of employees provides an indirect benefit to the employer. Introduction   In this article I review two similar cases: a judgment of […]

Objectively Justified Pricing: The Market Economy Operator Principle

office table
Introduction: Objective justification of price differentiation In a landmark judgment 25 years ago [February 1988], the Court of Justice established that business behaviour that appears to deviate from normal market practices can still conform with the market economy operator principle [MEOP] which is a variation of the better known market economy investor principle [MEIP]. Both principles are based on the […]

The Market Economy Vendor Principle: Sale of Public Land by the Dutch Municipality of Leidschendam-Voorburg [Commission Decision SA.24123]

Cadastre
The previous posting examined a case where the European Commission applied the Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP]. This is the principle that is used to determine whether there is state aid in commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings. According to Article 345 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [TFEU], the European Union is neutral with […]

The Curious Case of Applying the Market Economy Investor Principle to a Monopoly

monopoly game
On 3 October 2012, the European Commission concluded, in case SA.33988, that OPAP, the Greek operator of games of chance received no state aid because the Market Economy Investor Principle applied.[1] At first glance there is nothing unusual about a finding of no aid. But, as always, the devil is in the detail. OPAP holds the exclusive rights to organise various […]

- market economy investor principle ×

MEIP-Compliant Bank Recapitalisation: CEC Bank

An investor who is already a shareholder would take into account not only the return on new investment but also the impact on the overall profitability of the company in which capital is injected. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published covid-19 measures, as of 14 August 2020: 252* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 27; Article 107(3)(b): 211; Article […]

How to Assess a Shareholder Loan

A shareholder loan cannot be simply compared to a bank loan because the shareholder also benefits from improvements in the future profitability of the borrower. Introduction When a public authority grants a loan to a company, the methodology in the 2008 Commission communication on reference and discount rates can be used to determine whether the loan contains State aid. However, […]

A Curious Case of Port Concessions

The obligations of a concessionaire may be made less onerous in order to enable it to remain in operation. Any adjustment of the obligations takes into account the possible legal defences of the concessionaire. Introduction The Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP] is a powerful concept. Its many variations attest to its versatility [e.g. market economy investor, operator, vendor, creditor]. It […]

Ex ante Assessment of Future Profitability is Absolutely Necessary

A private investor assesses the prospects of future profitability before it invests. The burden of proof lies with the Member State that claims it has acted as a private investor.   Introduction The market economy investor principle is based on a simple premise: before you commit your money you need to check how much you are likely to get back. […]

Investment in Airport Infrastructure

Public funding of infrastructure used for non-economic purposes does not constitute State aid. Public investment in infrastructure used for economic purposes does not constitute State aid if the investment can generate a return that is acceptable to a private investor.   Introduction   On 25 January 2018, the General Court ruled in case T-818/14, Brussels South Charleroi Airport v Commission.[1] Brussels […]

Imputability of an Aid Measure to the State Does not Require a Counterfactual

The fact that the state owns an undertaking is not enough to prove that the decisions of that undertaking can be attributed to the state. However, it is sufficient that the state was involved in the particular decision that transferred state resources for the benefit of another undertaking.   Introduction Several recent articles on this blog have examined the concept […]

Bank Recapitalisation that Conforms to the Market Economy Investor Principle

A public authority acts like a private investor when it injects capital in a stricken bank if there is a realistic prospect of sufficient return that compensates it for the risk it bears.   Introduction Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) is the largest bank in Portugal and is now fully owned by the State. In June 2012, Portugal notified to […]

How to Apply the Market Economy Investor Principle and what Mistakes to Avoid: The Long-running Case of EDF

A market investor carries out a thorough ex ante analysis of the prospects of an investment before it commits any money.     Introduction In 2004, the European Commission concluded, in decision 2005/145, that France granted incompatible aid to Electricite de France [EDF]. The French government had converted tax liability into share capital in EDF. The Commission was of the […]

Market Economy Investor Principle

Public investment is free of State aid when it is made at the same time and on equal terms with investments by private investors. In the absence of an equivalent private investment, public investment does not constitute State aid when it is demonstrated ex ante that it is capable of generating market rates of return.   Introduction Public authorities are […]

The Market Economy Investor Principle Applies also to Avoidance of Losses

A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to avoid costly contractual clauses. A public authority can act as a private investor in paying to bring forward future revenue. Introduction   When a market operator invests to make profit, its underlying logic is the same as when it pays to avoid losses. In both cases it is […]

Restructuring and the Market Economy Investor Principle

Different interventions that aim to finance the same restructuring plan constitute a single measure. A private investor may consider a possible damage of its reputation from laying off workers but the damage has to be quantified. Finance support of employees provides an indirect benefit to the employer. Introduction   In this article I review two similar cases: a judgment of […]

Objectively Justified Pricing: The Market Economy Operator Principle

office table
Introduction: Objective justification of price differentiation In a landmark judgment 25 years ago [February 1988], the Court of Justice established that business behaviour that appears to deviate from normal market practices can still conform with the market economy operator principle [MEOP] which is a variation of the better known market economy investor principle [MEIP]. Both principles are based on the […]

The Market Economy Vendor Principle: Sale of Public Land by the Dutch Municipality of Leidschendam-Voorburg [Commission Decision SA.24123]

Cadastre
The previous posting examined a case where the European Commission applied the Market Economy Investor Principle [MEIP]. This is the principle that is used to determine whether there is state aid in commercial transactions between public authorities and undertakings. According to Article 345 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [TFEU], the European Union is neutral with […]

The Curious Case of Applying the Market Economy Investor Principle to a Monopoly

monopoly game
On 3 October 2012, the European Commission concluded, in case SA.33988, that OPAP, the Greek operator of games of chance received no state aid because the Market Economy Investor Principle applied.[1] At first glance there is nothing unusual about a finding of no aid. But, as always, the devil is in the detail. OPAP holds the exclusive rights to organise various […]

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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