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!

- Services of General Economic Interest ×

Services of General Economic Interest: Proper Definition and Avoidance of Overcompensation

Member States need to demonstrate that public service obligations imposed on undertakings are necessary and proportional to the need for public service. A change in the funding of public services does not constitute new aid if it does not alter its objectives, the beneficiaries or the amount of aid by more than 20%.   Introduction It is a well-established principle […]

The 2017 Annual Competition Report

Introduction   On 18 June 2018, the European Commission published its Annual Report on Competition Policy for 2017.[1] As usually, the Annual Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Paper that has almost four times as many pages as the Annual Report and provides more details on developments in all areas of competition policy, including State aid.  The pre-eminent role of […]

The Extent of the Discretion of Member States to Define Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI)

A service is classified as an SGEI not only when it is important for citizens but also when the market does not adequately supply it and one or more undertakings are compelled to provide it to specified consumers, in specified areas and on specified terms.   Introduction   The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the case law […]

Activities Linked to State Prerogatives

Economic activities which cannot be separated from the exercise of public powers cease to be economic in nature.   Introduction The dividing line between economic and non-economic activities is in a permanent state of flux. Although it is now clear that some activities fall within the powers and prerogatives of the state, while many others are carried out by the […]

The Scope of Public Service Obligations

Public service obligations may cover both profitable and unprofitable segments of the market.   Introduction 18 January 2017, the General Court delivered its judgment in case T-92/11 RENV, Jørgen Andersen, v European Commission.[1] Mr Andersen appealed against Commission Decision 2011/3 which concluded that public service contracts between the Danish Ministry of Transport and Danske Statsbaner [DSB], the incumbent train operator, contained […]

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 […]

PART II: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Part II: Public tasks and […]

PART I: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test, ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Introduction National and regional authorities […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Failure to Satisfy Ex Post the Altmark Criteria, but Compliance with the 2014 Aviation Guidelines

Public service obligations must be entrusted by an official act and defined with sufficient precision. Imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to identify the costs which are caused by such obligations. Consequently, imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to grant compensation because subsidisation of non-eligible costs cannot be excluded. Compensation may not be granted […]

- Services of General Economic Interest ×

Services of General Economic Interest: Proper Definition and Avoidance of Overcompensation

Member States need to demonstrate that public service obligations imposed on undertakings are necessary and proportional to the need for public service. A change in the funding of public services does not constitute new aid if it does not alter its objectives, the beneficiaries or the amount of aid by more than 20%.   Introduction It is a well-established principle […]

The 2017 Annual Competition Report

Introduction   On 18 June 2018, the European Commission published its Annual Report on Competition Policy for 2017.[1] As usually, the Annual Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Paper that has almost four times as many pages as the Annual Report and provides more details on developments in all areas of competition policy, including State aid.  The pre-eminent role of […]

The Extent of the Discretion of Member States to Define Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI)

A service is classified as an SGEI not only when it is important for citizens but also when the market does not adequately supply it and one or more undertakings are compelled to provide it to specified consumers, in specified areas and on specified terms.   Introduction   The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the case law […]

Activities Linked to State Prerogatives

Economic activities which cannot be separated from the exercise of public powers cease to be economic in nature.   Introduction The dividing line between economic and non-economic activities is in a permanent state of flux. Although it is now clear that some activities fall within the powers and prerogatives of the state, while many others are carried out by the […]

The Scope of Public Service Obligations

Public service obligations may cover both profitable and unprofitable segments of the market.   Introduction 18 January 2017, the General Court delivered its judgment in case T-92/11 RENV, Jørgen Andersen, v European Commission.[1] Mr Andersen appealed against Commission Decision 2011/3 which concluded that public service contracts between the Danish Ministry of Transport and Danske Statsbaner [DSB], the incumbent train operator, contained […]

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 […]

PART II: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Part II: Public tasks and […]

PART I: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test, ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Introduction National and regional authorities […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Failure to Satisfy Ex Post the Altmark Criteria, but Compliance with the 2014 Aviation Guidelines

Public service obligations must be entrusted by an official act and defined with sufficient precision. Imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to identify the costs which are caused by such obligations. Consequently, imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to grant compensation because subsidisation of non-eligible costs cannot be excluded. Compensation may not be granted […]

- Services of General Economic Interest ×

Services of General Economic Interest: Proper Definition and Avoidance of Overcompensation

Member States need to demonstrate that public service obligations imposed on undertakings are necessary and proportional to the need for public service. A change in the funding of public services does not constitute new aid if it does not alter its objectives, the beneficiaries or the amount of aid by more than 20%.   Introduction It is a well-established principle […]

The 2017 Annual Competition Report

Introduction   On 18 June 2018, the European Commission published its Annual Report on Competition Policy for 2017.[1] As usually, the Annual Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Paper that has almost four times as many pages as the Annual Report and provides more details on developments in all areas of competition policy, including State aid.  The pre-eminent role of […]

The Extent of the Discretion of Member States to Define Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI)

A service is classified as an SGEI not only when it is important for citizens but also when the market does not adequately supply it and one or more undertakings are compelled to provide it to specified consumers, in specified areas and on specified terms.   Introduction   The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the case law […]

Activities Linked to State Prerogatives

Economic activities which cannot be separated from the exercise of public powers cease to be economic in nature.   Introduction The dividing line between economic and non-economic activities is in a permanent state of flux. Although it is now clear that some activities fall within the powers and prerogatives of the state, while many others are carried out by the […]

The Scope of Public Service Obligations

Public service obligations may cover both profitable and unprofitable segments of the market.   Introduction 18 January 2017, the General Court delivered its judgment in case T-92/11 RENV, Jørgen Andersen, v European Commission.[1] Mr Andersen appealed against Commission Decision 2011/3 which concluded that public service contracts between the Danish Ministry of Transport and Danske Statsbaner [DSB], the incumbent train operator, contained […]

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 […]

PART II: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Part II: Public tasks and […]

PART I: Regional Development and i) Market Economy Operator Test, ii) Services of General Economic Interest

A market economy operator undertakes activities whose incremental revenue exceeds their incremental costs. A market economy operator ignores costs which are unaffected by those activities. A service of general economic interest has special characteristics that set it apart from other services with positive impact on the economy. Having a positive impact is not enough.   Introduction National and regional authorities […]

Services of General Economic Interest: How to Compensate and Induce more Efficiency

Even traditional monopolists, like postal operators, have to comply with the rules on compensation for the extra costs of public service obligations. SGEI providers can be compensated in a way that induces them to become more efficient.   Introduction This article examines case Commission decision SA.38788 concerning compensation for the UK Post Office Ltd [POL] in the period 2015-18.[1] It is […]

Failure to Satisfy Ex Post the Altmark Criteria, but Compliance with the 2014 Aviation Guidelines

Public service obligations must be entrusted by an official act and defined with sufficient precision. Imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to identify the costs which are caused by such obligations. Consequently, imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to grant compensation because subsidisation of non-eligible costs cannot be excluded. Compensation may not be granted […]

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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