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!

- Recovery ×

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Indirect State Aid

Special insolvency procedures can confer a selective advantage that constitutes State aid. A recovery order can be extended to the new owner of a company that had received incompatible State aid. Introduction Recipients of State aid that is found to be incompatible with the internal market have to pay it back with interest. This liability for repayment also extend to […]

The Impossibility of Proving the Absolute Impossibility to Recover Incompatible State Aid

It is not sufficient to claim that is it absolutely impossible to recover incompatible State aid. It must be shown that alternative methods have been actually tried without success. Introduction It is rather impossible for Member States to prove that it is absolutely impossible to recover State aid that has been found by the Commission, and confirmed by EU courts, […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part II)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. [In case you have missed part I, you can access it here.] Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part I)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the granting of compensation to an undertaking for the provision of SGEI must […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

i) Investor-State Arbitration ii) Recovery of Incompatible State Aid iii) State Aid Scoreboard 2019

euro coins
Member States abolish bilateral investment treaties between themselves. When the Commission orders recovery of incompatible State aid, interest has to be added to the recoverable amount for the whole period of illegality regardless of any national limitation rules. In 2018, Member States granted EUR 121 billion to industry and services, EUR 6.3 billion to agriculture and EUR 50 billion to […]

Advantage Must be Proven, Not Assumed

Road sign "Wrong Way"
The European Commission has to consider whether the private investor principle is applicable in cases of state investments. It is for Member States to prove that their investments conform with the private investor principle. Temporary Framework As of 9 May 2020, the European Commission had approved 113 State aid measures to combat covid-19. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 10; […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test tubes
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

How Can Incompatible State Aid Be Passed-on from one Company to another to Avoid Recovery?

Introduction State aid that is incompatible with the internal market has to be paid back, unless the repayment would be contrary to a general principle of EU law. Last November the Court of Justice ruled in case C‑622/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission that “(79) the principle that ‘no one is obliged to do the impossible’ is among the […]

The Recovery of Incompatible Aid Cannot be Absolutely Impossible Unless it is first Attempted

Introduction In its ruling of 6 November 2018 in cases C‑622/16 P to C‑624/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission, the Court of Justice made it harder for Member States to escape from their recovery obligations.[1] Montessori appealed against the judgment of the General Court in case T‑220/13, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission. That judgment was reviewed here on […]

Indirect v Secondary Effects of State Aid

The prohibition of State aid in Article 107(1) of the Treaty applies both to the direct and indirect beneficiaries of aid. The direct and indirect beneficiaries are those who are intentionally targeted by the aid. Secondary effects are benefits which are inherent in an aid measure and which are not targeted at specific undertakings.   Introduction Public funding for the […]

Is there an Advantage when the State Pays for Compulsory Milk Tests?

Undertakings obtain an advantage when the state pays for their normal costs. Normal costs are costs which are inherent in the operations of undertakings. The costs of meeting legal obligations are normal.   Introduction The case law on advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU says that aid confers an advantage to undertakings when they obtain a benefit that […]

- Recovery ×

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Indirect State Aid

Special insolvency procedures can confer a selective advantage that constitutes State aid. A recovery order can be extended to the new owner of a company that had received incompatible State aid. Introduction Recipients of State aid that is found to be incompatible with the internal market have to pay it back with interest. This liability for repayment also extend to […]

The Impossibility of Proving the Absolute Impossibility to Recover Incompatible State Aid

It is not sufficient to claim that is it absolutely impossible to recover incompatible State aid. It must be shown that alternative methods have been actually tried without success. Introduction It is rather impossible for Member States to prove that it is absolutely impossible to recover State aid that has been found by the Commission, and confirmed by EU courts, […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part II)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. [In case you have missed part I, you can access it here.] Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part I)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the granting of compensation to an undertaking for the provision of SGEI must […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

i) Investor-State Arbitration ii) Recovery of Incompatible State Aid iii) State Aid Scoreboard 2019

euro coins
Member States abolish bilateral investment treaties between themselves. When the Commission orders recovery of incompatible State aid, interest has to be added to the recoverable amount for the whole period of illegality regardless of any national limitation rules. In 2018, Member States granted EUR 121 billion to industry and services, EUR 6.3 billion to agriculture and EUR 50 billion to […]

Advantage Must be Proven, Not Assumed

Road sign "Wrong Way"
The European Commission has to consider whether the private investor principle is applicable in cases of state investments. It is for Member States to prove that their investments conform with the private investor principle. Temporary Framework As of 9 May 2020, the European Commission had approved 113 State aid measures to combat covid-19. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 10; […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test tubes
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

How Can Incompatible State Aid Be Passed-on from one Company to another to Avoid Recovery?

Introduction State aid that is incompatible with the internal market has to be paid back, unless the repayment would be contrary to a general principle of EU law. Last November the Court of Justice ruled in case C‑622/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission that “(79) the principle that ‘no one is obliged to do the impossible’ is among the […]

The Recovery of Incompatible Aid Cannot be Absolutely Impossible Unless it is first Attempted

Introduction In its ruling of 6 November 2018 in cases C‑622/16 P to C‑624/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission, the Court of Justice made it harder for Member States to escape from their recovery obligations.[1] Montessori appealed against the judgment of the General Court in case T‑220/13, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission. That judgment was reviewed here on […]

Indirect v Secondary Effects of State Aid

The prohibition of State aid in Article 107(1) of the Treaty applies both to the direct and indirect beneficiaries of aid. The direct and indirect beneficiaries are those who are intentionally targeted by the aid. Secondary effects are benefits which are inherent in an aid measure and which are not targeted at specific undertakings.   Introduction Public funding for the […]

Is there an Advantage when the State Pays for Compulsory Milk Tests?

Undertakings obtain an advantage when the state pays for their normal costs. Normal costs are costs which are inherent in the operations of undertakings. The costs of meeting legal obligations are normal.   Introduction The case law on advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU says that aid confers an advantage to undertakings when they obtain a benefit that […]

- Recovery ×

Economic Continuity and Recovery of Indirect State Aid

Special insolvency procedures can confer a selective advantage that constitutes State aid. A recovery order can be extended to the new owner of a company that had received incompatible State aid. Introduction Recipients of State aid that is found to be incompatible with the internal market have to pay it back with interest. This liability for repayment also extend to […]

The Impossibility of Proving the Absolute Impossibility to Recover Incompatible State Aid

It is not sufficient to claim that is it absolutely impossible to recover incompatible State aid. It must be shown that alternative methods have been actually tried without success. Introduction It is rather impossible for Member States to prove that it is absolutely impossible to recover State aid that has been found by the Commission, and confirmed by EU courts, […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part II)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. [In case you have missed part I, you can access it here.] Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the […]

A Rare Case of Altmark-compliant SGEI (Part I)

For a service to be in the general economic interest, it must be shown to fill a gap in the market or to offer what the market fails to provide adequately. Introduction Services of general economic interest [SGEI] are important for the functioning of European societies. However, the granting of compensation to an undertaking for the provision of SGEI must […]

2019 Competition Report

report
The Annual Competition Report is a useful document, but it should provide more information on the results of the ex post evaluations and ex post monitoring. Update on Temporary Framework: Number of approved and published COVID-19 measures, as of 10 July 2020: 202* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 20; Article 107(3)(b): 171; Article 107(3)(c): 17 Six Member States have implemented 11 […]

i) Investor-State Arbitration ii) Recovery of Incompatible State Aid iii) State Aid Scoreboard 2019

euro coins
Member States abolish bilateral investment treaties between themselves. When the Commission orders recovery of incompatible State aid, interest has to be added to the recoverable amount for the whole period of illegality regardless of any national limitation rules. In 2018, Member States granted EUR 121 billion to industry and services, EUR 6.3 billion to agriculture and EUR 50 billion to […]

Advantage Must be Proven, Not Assumed

Road sign "Wrong Way"
The European Commission has to consider whether the private investor principle is applicable in cases of state investments. It is for Member States to prove that their investments conform with the private investor principle. Temporary Framework As of 9 May 2020, the European Commission had approved 113 State aid measures to combat covid-19. Their legal basis was: Article 107(2)(b): 10; […]

How to Make Good the Damage Caused by a Natural Disaster

Compensation for costs incurred as a result of a natural disaster is State aid. The compensation must be for damage directly caused by the natural disaster. Introduction State aid to make good the damage caused by an “exceptional occurrence” such as the corona virus covid-19 is compatible with the internal market. The legal basis for exemption is Article 107(2)(b). Of […]

Economic Continuity in Recovery of Incompatible State aid

Lab test tubes
The new owner of a company that received incompatible State aid may be liable to pay it back. Introduction   Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was compatible with the internal market. When a […]

How Can Incompatible State Aid Be Passed-on from one Company to another to Avoid Recovery?

Introduction State aid that is incompatible with the internal market has to be paid back, unless the repayment would be contrary to a general principle of EU law. Last November the Court of Justice ruled in case C‑622/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission that “(79) the principle that ‘no one is obliged to do the impossible’ is among the […]

The Recovery of Incompatible Aid Cannot be Absolutely Impossible Unless it is first Attempted

Introduction In its ruling of 6 November 2018 in cases C‑622/16 P to C‑624/16 P, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission, the Court of Justice made it harder for Member States to escape from their recovery obligations.[1] Montessori appealed against the judgment of the General Court in case T‑220/13, Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori v European Commission. That judgment was reviewed here on […]

Indirect v Secondary Effects of State Aid

The prohibition of State aid in Article 107(1) of the Treaty applies both to the direct and indirect beneficiaries of aid. The direct and indirect beneficiaries are those who are intentionally targeted by the aid. Secondary effects are benefits which are inherent in an aid measure and which are not targeted at specific undertakings.   Introduction Public funding for the […]

Is there an Advantage when the State Pays for Compulsory Milk Tests?

Undertakings obtain an advantage when the state pays for their normal costs. Normal costs are costs which are inherent in the operations of undertakings. The costs of meeting legal obligations are normal.   Introduction The case law on advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU says that aid confers an advantage to undertakings when they obtain a benefit that […]

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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