Since 2002 Lexxion Publisher’s European State Aid Law Quarterly – EStAL serves as a forum for dialogue and deliberation on all issues related to State aid. On the occasion of our 15th anniversary special feature we have gathered our State aid family to reflect upon their joint journey together with our precious EStAL and of course our favourite topic State aid. Throughout our jubilee year we will introduce you to our State aid aficionados providing original and behind-the-scenes insights into our community of experts including our distinct editorial board members, country correspondents, regular contributors and more.
Today we welcome Mihalis Kekelekis, one of our regular speakers at State aid events and author of EStAL, from the EFTA Surveillance Authority to the StateAidHub. What’s his deal with State aid and in particular the adoption of Regulation 1370/2007?
When and how did you get involved with State aid Law?
In 2003, I applied for a vacancy at the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht (EIPA) to work together with Professor Phedon Nicolaides as a State aid researcher. After having spent 9 years at EIPA, I moved to the EFTA Surveillance Authority to deal with State aid enforcement. It’s been now almost 14 years and the domain still fascinates me.
Why is State aid law important?
State aid law is significant because it relates to public spending and how that must be regulated in order to benefit effectively both the consumers and the industry. At the same token, it affects a large portion of public servants at all administrative levels that need to be aware of the rules in order to design no-aid or compatible aid schemes using the support of ESI funds.
What is the role of EStAL? Is it a policy monitor or policy shaper?
This is a unique State aid journal. I am not sure if there is any other journal in the EU dedicated to State aid. It does not only provide articles and judgment annotations/analyses, it also offers reports from national jurisdictions, shares best practices and most importantly, it brings State aid experts together.
Evolution of State Aid Law & EStAL: Review and Outlook
Obviously, the recent modernisation package, with the adoption of the expanded GBER and the codification of the Guidelines, has been on the forehead of all major developments in the State aid field over the last 15 years. As regards landmark judgments, this is not difficult: Altmark. This judgment paved the way for the introduction of important policy developments (SGEI package). Moreover, the adoption of Regulation 1370/2007 (PSO in land transport) has been a milestone in my career, as it got me involved in a number of consultancy projects and gave me the opportunity to extend my State aid expertise within a particular sector.
How has State aid law evolved over the years? What do you wish for the future of EStAL?
For the future, I wish EStAL to continue the success story and keep the spirit up!
Thank you Mihalis for these insights into your story with State aid and EStAL. We are looking forward to the next major developments in State aid with your expert insights on our side!