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!

- infrastructure ×

State Aid for i) Water Development ii) Travel

State Aid Blogpost 21 Picture
Aid to individuals in the context of social policy is compatible with the internal market as long as it is granted without discrimination on the origin of products or services. Temporary Framework: Number of approved covid-19 measures, as of 22 May 2020: 129* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 111; Article 107(3)(c): 12 * Excludes amendments to previously notified […]

Public Funding of Infrastructure without State Aid

State Aide_Infrastructure
The existence of State aid must be checked at the level of both the direct and indirect beneficiaries who are the owners and users of infrastructure, respectively. If payments to private land owners are to be free of State aid, they must be calculated on the basis of an objective formula that takes into account the size and value of […]

The Incentive Effect of Public Funding of Infrastructure in Tranches

Public funding of functionally and commercially severable parts of an infrastructure project may have incentive effect even after construction is completed on some of the parts. A subsidy for the operation of a toll motorway may not constitute State aid.   Introduction State aid granted to a project that has already started lacks incentive effects and, therefore, cannot be found […]

Infrastructure Projects, State Guarantees and Distortion of Competition

State guarantees must be limited in duration and amount and the conditions for their mobilization must be defined in advance. Public funding to an operator in a closed sector does not affect trade and, therefore, does not constitute State aid.   Introduction Large infrastructure projects are complex, encounter many unforeseen problems and often fall behind schedule for years. Consider, for […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

The Legal Basis of the (In)compatibility of Aid Must be Clear

The European Commission may withdraw a decision, but before it adopts a new decision it must give an opportunity to interested parties to submit their comments, especially, if it changes the legal basis of the assessment of the compatibility of the aid.   Introduction The most frequent reasons for which the Commission finds aid to be incompatible with the internal […]

State Aid is on the Agenda: Deal or No Deal

brexit
With great pleasure we welcome again Professor Erika Szyszczak to our blog. Erika is a Research Professor in Law and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. She is currently the Special Adviser to the House of Lords Internal Market Sub-Committee in respect of its inquiry into Brexit: competition. She is the author of The Regulation of the State […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part III – Trade Effect, Distortion of Competition and Infrastructure

This is the third and last article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article analysed the concepts of advantage and selectivity. This week the focus is on the last two constituent elements of the notion of State aid: affectation of cross-border trade and distortion of competition. This article […]

PART II: Combining Infrastructure Aid with SGEI Aid

After the spontaneous words on Brexit and State aid last week, I continue with the 2nd part of the post on infrastructure and SGEI today. A provider of services of general economic interest may receive both investment aid and compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. Part II: SGEI[1] Member States are free to determine the services they […]

When Infrastructure is not Public: Dedicated, Project-Specific and Bespoke

Public funding of open and freely used infrastructure is not State aid. Public funding of project-specific, dedicated or bespoke infrastructure is State aid. Public funding of infrastructure connecting public and private parts may be State aid if the relevant national rules require developers to bear the cost.   Introduction The Commission has recently examined an infrastructure project in the vicinity […]

Remarks on the Infrastructure Section of the Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid

Cable-stayed bridge across river Po in Northern Italy
Today we are glad to welcome once again Gian Marco Galletti as guest author on our State aid blog. He is a PhD Candidate & EU Law Tutor at the Dickson Poon School of Law of King’s College London. In this blog post he comments on the Commission’s new Notice on the notion of State aid. Thank you for your […]

The First Application of the New GBER to Sport Infrastructure

traffic sign
Public funding of local sport infrastructure may constitute State aid. The granting of a concession contract for the construction and/or operation of the infrastructure may not exclude State aid for the concessionaire. Measures based on the new GBER have to satisfy both its general and specific provisions. The funding gap method can be used in the context of the GBER. […]

Management of Port Infrastructure through a very long Concession Contract: Is the Funding Gap Method Meaningful?

port
Competitive selection of the operator of an infrastructural facility normally eliminates State aid. However, modifications to the contract after the operator is selected may confer an advantage that constitutes State aid. Public funding that is calculated on the basis of the “funding gap” method ensures that the aid is necessary and proportional. Introduction   Several recent articles in the blog […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, 2014-2020

recycle sign
The new guidelines are wider in scope: They also cover energy infrastructure, energy capacity and reductions from electricity levies. The new guidelines have higher thresholds for individual notifications. They allow higher aid intensity when aid is granted through competitive bidding. They require more rigorous application of the principles of necessity and proportionality of aid. Introduction   In 2012, the latest year for which […]

Competitive Elements in the Selection of Operators of Sports Infrastructure May not Be Enough to Eliminate State Aid

sport arena seats
The existence of an advantage cannot be excluded when the operator of an infrastructural facility is chosen through a competitive procedure which combines price with other selection criteria. The users of a subsidised infrastructural facility who pay a market fee may still derive an advantage when the facility is designed and/or reserved for certain usage. Introduction   Ever since the Leipzig-Halle […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines (part 1)

man looking airplane takeoff
Introduction[1] One more set of State aid rules for 2014-20 has been adopted. On Thursday, 20 February 2014, the Commission published its Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines.[2] The other main substantive rules which are already in place are the following, in chronological order:[3] The package on services of general economic interest (SGEI): A Communication, a Decision (like a […]

A Case of Public Funding of Infrastructure that Does not Constitute State Aid: But Many Questions Remain

fortress
Introduction After the landmark judgment in Leipzig-Halle, public authorities are justifiably careful to ensure that the infrastructure they fund is either free of State aid or, if that is unavoidable, that the State aid is compatible with the internal market. Recent cases have shown that there are two problems in this regard. First, public authorities must verify whether the organisations […]

The Confusion between Necessity and Proportionality of State Aid [Case SA.35738: Public Funding of Port Infrastructure]

port
Introduction Several postings in this blog have examined cases concerning funding of port, airport or sport infrastructure. These cases have all had interesting peculiarities. Some involved no state aid because public authorities acted as private investors, while in other cases the funding arrangements were designed in such a way so that the state aid to operators would not spill over […]

Public Funding of Stadiums and Arenas

sports arena
Introduction After the judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice on public funding of infrastructure in the now landmark case of Leipzig-Halle, the European Commission is scrutinising more closely than ever the construction and operation of stadiums and arenas. In March 2012, the Commission opened two in-depth investigations into public funding for multi-function arenas, one in Uppsala […]

- infrastructure ×

State Aid for i) Water Development ii) Travel

State Aid Blogpost 21 Picture
Aid to individuals in the context of social policy is compatible with the internal market as long as it is granted without discrimination on the origin of products or services. Temporary Framework: Number of approved covid-19 measures, as of 22 May 2020: 129* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 111; Article 107(3)(c): 12 * Excludes amendments to previously notified […]

Public Funding of Infrastructure without State Aid

State Aide_Infrastructure
The existence of State aid must be checked at the level of both the direct and indirect beneficiaries who are the owners and users of infrastructure, respectively. If payments to private land owners are to be free of State aid, they must be calculated on the basis of an objective formula that takes into account the size and value of […]

The Incentive Effect of Public Funding of Infrastructure in Tranches

Public funding of functionally and commercially severable parts of an infrastructure project may have incentive effect even after construction is completed on some of the parts. A subsidy for the operation of a toll motorway may not constitute State aid.   Introduction State aid granted to a project that has already started lacks incentive effects and, therefore, cannot be found […]

Infrastructure Projects, State Guarantees and Distortion of Competition

State guarantees must be limited in duration and amount and the conditions for their mobilization must be defined in advance. Public funding to an operator in a closed sector does not affect trade and, therefore, does not constitute State aid.   Introduction Large infrastructure projects are complex, encounter many unforeseen problems and often fall behind schedule for years. Consider, for […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

The Legal Basis of the (In)compatibility of Aid Must be Clear

The European Commission may withdraw a decision, but before it adopts a new decision it must give an opportunity to interested parties to submit their comments, especially, if it changes the legal basis of the assessment of the compatibility of the aid.   Introduction The most frequent reasons for which the Commission finds aid to be incompatible with the internal […]

State Aid is on the Agenda: Deal or No Deal

brexit
With great pleasure we welcome again Professor Erika Szyszczak to our blog. Erika is a Research Professor in Law and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. She is currently the Special Adviser to the House of Lords Internal Market Sub-Committee in respect of its inquiry into Brexit: competition. She is the author of The Regulation of the State […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part III – Trade Effect, Distortion of Competition and Infrastructure

This is the third and last article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article analysed the concepts of advantage and selectivity. This week the focus is on the last two constituent elements of the notion of State aid: affectation of cross-border trade and distortion of competition. This article […]

PART II: Combining Infrastructure Aid with SGEI Aid

After the spontaneous words on Brexit and State aid last week, I continue with the 2nd part of the post on infrastructure and SGEI today. A provider of services of general economic interest may receive both investment aid and compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. Part II: SGEI[1] Member States are free to determine the services they […]

When Infrastructure is not Public: Dedicated, Project-Specific and Bespoke

Public funding of open and freely used infrastructure is not State aid. Public funding of project-specific, dedicated or bespoke infrastructure is State aid. Public funding of infrastructure connecting public and private parts may be State aid if the relevant national rules require developers to bear the cost.   Introduction The Commission has recently examined an infrastructure project in the vicinity […]

Remarks on the Infrastructure Section of the Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid

Cable-stayed bridge across river Po in Northern Italy
Today we are glad to welcome once again Gian Marco Galletti as guest author on our State aid blog. He is a PhD Candidate & EU Law Tutor at the Dickson Poon School of Law of King’s College London. In this blog post he comments on the Commission’s new Notice on the notion of State aid. Thank you for your […]

The First Application of the New GBER to Sport Infrastructure

traffic sign
Public funding of local sport infrastructure may constitute State aid. The granting of a concession contract for the construction and/or operation of the infrastructure may not exclude State aid for the concessionaire. Measures based on the new GBER have to satisfy both its general and specific provisions. The funding gap method can be used in the context of the GBER. […]

Management of Port Infrastructure through a very long Concession Contract: Is the Funding Gap Method Meaningful?

port
Competitive selection of the operator of an infrastructural facility normally eliminates State aid. However, modifications to the contract after the operator is selected may confer an advantage that constitutes State aid. Public funding that is calculated on the basis of the “funding gap” method ensures that the aid is necessary and proportional. Introduction   Several recent articles in the blog […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, 2014-2020

recycle sign
The new guidelines are wider in scope: They also cover energy infrastructure, energy capacity and reductions from electricity levies. The new guidelines have higher thresholds for individual notifications. They allow higher aid intensity when aid is granted through competitive bidding. They require more rigorous application of the principles of necessity and proportionality of aid. Introduction   In 2012, the latest year for which […]

Competitive Elements in the Selection of Operators of Sports Infrastructure May not Be Enough to Eliminate State Aid

sport arena seats
The existence of an advantage cannot be excluded when the operator of an infrastructural facility is chosen through a competitive procedure which combines price with other selection criteria. The users of a subsidised infrastructural facility who pay a market fee may still derive an advantage when the facility is designed and/or reserved for certain usage. Introduction   Ever since the Leipzig-Halle […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines (part 1)

man looking airplane takeoff
Introduction[1] One more set of State aid rules for 2014-20 has been adopted. On Thursday, 20 February 2014, the Commission published its Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines.[2] The other main substantive rules which are already in place are the following, in chronological order:[3] The package on services of general economic interest (SGEI): A Communication, a Decision (like a […]

A Case of Public Funding of Infrastructure that Does not Constitute State Aid: But Many Questions Remain

fortress
Introduction After the landmark judgment in Leipzig-Halle, public authorities are justifiably careful to ensure that the infrastructure they fund is either free of State aid or, if that is unavoidable, that the State aid is compatible with the internal market. Recent cases have shown that there are two problems in this regard. First, public authorities must verify whether the organisations […]

The Confusion between Necessity and Proportionality of State Aid [Case SA.35738: Public Funding of Port Infrastructure]

port
Introduction Several postings in this blog have examined cases concerning funding of port, airport or sport infrastructure. These cases have all had interesting peculiarities. Some involved no state aid because public authorities acted as private investors, while in other cases the funding arrangements were designed in such a way so that the state aid to operators would not spill over […]

Public Funding of Stadiums and Arenas

sports arena
Introduction After the judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice on public funding of infrastructure in the now landmark case of Leipzig-Halle, the European Commission is scrutinising more closely than ever the construction and operation of stadiums and arenas. In March 2012, the Commission opened two in-depth investigations into public funding for multi-function arenas, one in Uppsala […]

- infrastructure ×

State Aid for i) Water Development ii) Travel

State Aid Blogpost 21 Picture
Aid to individuals in the context of social policy is compatible with the internal market as long as it is granted without discrimination on the origin of products or services. Temporary Framework: Number of approved covid-19 measures, as of 22 May 2020: 129* Legal basis: Article 107(2)(b): 9; Article 107(3)(b): 111; Article 107(3)(c): 12 * Excludes amendments to previously notified […]

Public Funding of Infrastructure without State Aid

State Aide_Infrastructure
The existence of State aid must be checked at the level of both the direct and indirect beneficiaries who are the owners and users of infrastructure, respectively. If payments to private land owners are to be free of State aid, they must be calculated on the basis of an objective formula that takes into account the size and value of […]

The Incentive Effect of Public Funding of Infrastructure in Tranches

Public funding of functionally and commercially severable parts of an infrastructure project may have incentive effect even after construction is completed on some of the parts. A subsidy for the operation of a toll motorway may not constitute State aid.   Introduction State aid granted to a project that has already started lacks incentive effects and, therefore, cannot be found […]

Infrastructure Projects, State Guarantees and Distortion of Competition

State guarantees must be limited in duration and amount and the conditions for their mobilization must be defined in advance. Public funding to an operator in a closed sector does not affect trade and, therefore, does not constitute State aid.   Introduction Large infrastructure projects are complex, encounter many unforeseen problems and often fall behind schedule for years. Consider, for […]

Correct Pricing for the Use of Publicly Funded Infrastructure

Publicly funded infrastructure must be made available to users at prices that correspond to its market value.   Introduction   When publicly-funded infrastructure is placed at the disposal of an undertaking, that undertaking must pay a market price, otherwise it derives an advantage in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. But what is the market price? Is it the price […]

The Legal Basis of the (In)compatibility of Aid Must be Clear

The European Commission may withdraw a decision, but before it adopts a new decision it must give an opportunity to interested parties to submit their comments, especially, if it changes the legal basis of the assessment of the compatibility of the aid.   Introduction The most frequent reasons for which the Commission finds aid to be incompatible with the internal […]

State Aid is on the Agenda: Deal or No Deal

brexit
With great pleasure we welcome again Professor Erika Szyszczak to our blog. Erika is a Research Professor in Law and a Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. She is currently the Special Adviser to the House of Lords Internal Market Sub-Committee in respect of its inquiry into Brexit: competition. She is the author of The Regulation of the State […]

Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid: Part III – Trade Effect, Distortion of Competition and Infrastructure

This is the third and last article in a series of three that reviews the Commission’s Notice on the Notion of State Aid.* Last week’s article analysed the concepts of advantage and selectivity. This week the focus is on the last two constituent elements of the notion of State aid: affectation of cross-border trade and distortion of competition. This article […]

PART II: Combining Infrastructure Aid with SGEI Aid

After the spontaneous words on Brexit and State aid last week, I continue with the 2nd part of the post on infrastructure and SGEI today. A provider of services of general economic interest may receive both investment aid and compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. Part II: SGEI[1] Member States are free to determine the services they […]

When Infrastructure is not Public: Dedicated, Project-Specific and Bespoke

Public funding of open and freely used infrastructure is not State aid. Public funding of project-specific, dedicated or bespoke infrastructure is State aid. Public funding of infrastructure connecting public and private parts may be State aid if the relevant national rules require developers to bear the cost.   Introduction The Commission has recently examined an infrastructure project in the vicinity […]

Remarks on the Infrastructure Section of the Commission Notice on the Notion of State Aid

Cable-stayed bridge across river Po in Northern Italy
Today we are glad to welcome once again Gian Marco Galletti as guest author on our State aid blog. He is a PhD Candidate & EU Law Tutor at the Dickson Poon School of Law of King’s College London. In this blog post he comments on the Commission’s new Notice on the notion of State aid. Thank you for your […]

The First Application of the New GBER to Sport Infrastructure

traffic sign
Public funding of local sport infrastructure may constitute State aid. The granting of a concession contract for the construction and/or operation of the infrastructure may not exclude State aid for the concessionaire. Measures based on the new GBER have to satisfy both its general and specific provisions. The funding gap method can be used in the context of the GBER. […]

Management of Port Infrastructure through a very long Concession Contract: Is the Funding Gap Method Meaningful?

port
Competitive selection of the operator of an infrastructural facility normally eliminates State aid. However, modifications to the contract after the operator is selected may confer an advantage that constitutes State aid. Public funding that is calculated on the basis of the “funding gap” method ensures that the aid is necessary and proportional. Introduction   Several recent articles in the blog […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, 2014-2020

recycle sign
The new guidelines are wider in scope: They also cover energy infrastructure, energy capacity and reductions from electricity levies. The new guidelines have higher thresholds for individual notifications. They allow higher aid intensity when aid is granted through competitive bidding. They require more rigorous application of the principles of necessity and proportionality of aid. Introduction   In 2012, the latest year for which […]

Competitive Elements in the Selection of Operators of Sports Infrastructure May not Be Enough to Eliminate State Aid

sport arena seats
The existence of an advantage cannot be excluded when the operator of an infrastructural facility is chosen through a competitive procedure which combines price with other selection criteria. The users of a subsidised infrastructural facility who pay a market fee may still derive an advantage when the facility is designed and/or reserved for certain usage. Introduction   Ever since the Leipzig-Halle […]

The New Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines (part 1)

man looking airplane takeoff
Introduction[1] One more set of State aid rules for 2014-20 has been adopted. On Thursday, 20 February 2014, the Commission published its Guidelines on State Aid to Airports and Airlines.[2] The other main substantive rules which are already in place are the following, in chronological order:[3] The package on services of general economic interest (SGEI): A Communication, a Decision (like a […]

A Case of Public Funding of Infrastructure that Does not Constitute State Aid: But Many Questions Remain

fortress
Introduction After the landmark judgment in Leipzig-Halle, public authorities are justifiably careful to ensure that the infrastructure they fund is either free of State aid or, if that is unavoidable, that the State aid is compatible with the internal market. Recent cases have shown that there are two problems in this regard. First, public authorities must verify whether the organisations […]

The Confusion between Necessity and Proportionality of State Aid [Case SA.35738: Public Funding of Port Infrastructure]

port
Introduction Several postings in this blog have examined cases concerning funding of port, airport or sport infrastructure. These cases have all had interesting peculiarities. Some involved no state aid because public authorities acted as private investors, while in other cases the funding arrangements were designed in such a way so that the state aid to operators would not spill over […]

Public Funding of Stadiums and Arenas

sports arena
Introduction After the judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice on public funding of infrastructure in the now landmark case of Leipzig-Halle, the European Commission is scrutinising more closely than ever the construction and operation of stadiums and arenas. In March 2012, the Commission opened two in-depth investigations into public funding for multi-function arenas, one in Uppsala […]

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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