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 Sara Gobbato, EStAL’s Country Correspondent for Italy, from BM&A – Barel Malvestio & Associati in Treviso to the StateAidHub. What’s her deal with State aid and how does it have an entirely positive impact on society?
When and how did you get involved with State Aid Law?
I am a qualified Italian lawyer with over 10 year experience in the private practice. Since my early University studies in the ‘90s, I have been very passionate about EU Law in general. I first got in touch with State Aid Law during the EU Law course held by Professor Luigi Daniele at the University of Trieste. I further had the chance to deepen my knowledge on this subject matter during my PhD in EU Law: my PhD thesis concerned the EU liberalisation process in the Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) sector. Since then, one of my very favourite topics has always been the interaction between Article 106 and Article 107 TFEU, with regard to the derogation to the prohibition of State Aid, under Article 107 TFEU, in the general interest for the fulfilment of SGEIs pursuant to Article 106(2) TFEU.
Why is State aid law important and to whom?
In my opinion, State aid law is particularly important in the general interest: it has the power to shape (for the best, hopefully) the communities where we live in, ensuring that the public resources are spent for well-targeted objectives in the public interest. In my view, State Aid Law is not something “negative” about bans and prohibitions; on the contrary, State Aid Law has an entirely positive impact on society, dealing with the constructive role that policy making shall have in devoting public resources to the general good.
What role does EStAL play and what’s its impact?
EStAL has a very unique role since it is a community of people from all over the EU: together with its readers, EStAL aims to share and provide critical information in order to foster the compliance and awareness about State aid law and its desirable evolution.
How has State aid law & EStAL evolved over the years? What will the future bring?
The major development I noticed over the last years, as Italian citizen, concerns the growing awareness that State aid law has gained in all sectors of the Italian Public Administration. State aid has become a key element in the policy making, as proved for instance by the efforts devoted to this subject matter by the Italian Department for European Affairs as well as by the Italian Regions.
For me, the Altmark judgment remains a milestone considering the debate it opened on the interaction between SGEIs and State aid law: even the criticism raised by the Altmark judgment has proven to be particularly important for the progress of State aid law in the SGEIs sector.
For the future of EStAL as a journal, I wish that it might fully succeed in its digital evolution taking advantage with even greater imagination of multimediality. As a community of people who share EU values, I wish that EStAL might succeed in spreading the values of solidarity and integration that represent the very foundations of EU State Aid Law.
Thank you Sara for these insights into your story with State aid and EStAL. We are looking forward to taking the digital evolution with you on our side!