Bruno Stromsky

DG COMP (Brussels)
Member of the legal service

Bruno is Member of the legal service of the European Commission.

Articles

67826 Review

Bruno Stromsky Indirect beneficiaries: The General Court of the European Union confirms that airlines serving Sardinia, which concluded commercial agreements with airport operators, with a view to improving the island’s air service and promoting it as a touristic destination, benefitted from State aid (Volotea, Germanwings, EasyJet)

36

The three judgments handed down by the Tribunal in the cases concerning airlines serving Sardinia are quite rich. They deal in particular with an often complex and controversial issue, that of the indirect benefit of aid. The case law makes it clear that Article 107(1) TFEU applies both to (...)

Bruno Stromsky New aid: The Court of Justice of the European Union considers that a Member State may grant an aid subject to the condition that the beneficiary has repaid other aid declared unlawful and incompatible, despite the fact that the decision of the European Commission approving the new aid does not explicitly provide for such a requirement (Blumar)

30

The granting of State aid which is not covered by an exemption regulation is subject to prior approval by the Commission. As part of its notification, the State may stipulate that the granting of such aid will be subject to certain conditions. It may also give undertakings to the Commission, in (...)

Bruno Stromsky Formal investigation procedure: The Court of Justice of the European Union accepts that the European Commission did not have to reopen the formal investigation procedure after the adoption of new guidelines and consequently annuls a judgment of the General Court of the European Union (Gmina Miasto Gdynia, Port Lotniczy Gdynia Kosakowo)

84

At first instance, the Court of First Instance held that the Commission should reopen the formal investigation procedure when new guidelines entailing a change in the legal regime are adopted after the opening (Trib. EU, 17 Nov. 2017, Gmina Miasto Gdynia (’Municipality of Gdynia’) and others, (...)

Bruno Stromsky State ressources: The General Court of the European Union confirms that a reduction of financial guarantees for the restoration of mining sites conferred an advantage and involved a transfer of State resources to the operator of a mine (Iberpotash)

58

Iberpotash is the operator of two active potash mines in Catalonia and owns a salt heap on a site where mining activities have long ceased. These mining activities are polluting, which normally creates environmental obligations and burdens for the operator. In particular, the operator has to (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selectivity : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that the prolongation by a judge granting interim measures of a contract granting a favorable tariff to an undertaking constitutes a selective advantage (Mytilinaios Anonymos Etaira)

88

The Court’s judgment of 11 December puts an end to a dispute over the classification as State aid of a measure taken by the Greek court for interim measures allowing an operator to continue to benefit from a preferential electricity supply tariff. This is the fourth judgment relating to this (...)

Bruno Stromsky Absolute impossibility: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that an action for annulment brought by a competitor is admissible and annuls the State aid scheme since the absolute impossibility of recovery of the aid was not demonstrated (Scuola Elementare Maria Montessori/Commission, Italie)

187

The Montessori judgment of the Grand Board appears to be an important turning point as regards the admissibility of appeals against Commission decisions relating to aid schemes, particularly where those decisions are favourable to a Member State. Whereas it had hitherto interpreted in a (...)

Bruno Stromsky Economic continuity: The General Court of the European Union confirms the finding of economic continuity between two entities, taking into account in particular the very wide scope of assets transferred (Fortischem)

80

The Fortischem judgment concerns an attempt by Slovakia to rescue a private chemical production company (NCHZ), which was facing bankruptcy proceedings and which the State considered strategic. It is of two main interests: on the one hand, it clearly shows how the manipulation of the bankruptcy (...)

Bruno Stromsky Proportionality: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that the European Commission could reduce the aid amount compatible with the internal market to the amount strictly necessary to ensure that an investment project could be carried out in an assisted region, although a higher amount of aid could have been covered by the general exemption by category (BMW)

140

The judgment on appeal of 29 July 2019 follows the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 12 September 2017 (Trib. EU, BMW, case T-671/14; see Concurrences No. 4-2017), by which the Court of First Instance had upheld the validity of a Commission decision declaring investment aid granted by (...)

Bruno Stromsky Indirect aid: The General Court of the European Union considers as inadmissible an application from an airline company against a final decision of the European Commission, which deems compatible State aid measure likely to favour one of its competitors (Air France)

121

The judgment of 11 July 2019 dismisses as inadmissible the action brought by Air France against a final decision of the Commission after the initiation of the formal investigation procedure authorising several ’aid’ measures in favour of Marseille airport and the companies using the airport. Two (...)

Bruno Stromsky Notion of aid: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision of the European Commission stating that a progressive rate tax on retailers’ turnover was selective and constituted State aid (Poland / Commission)

118

The judgment of the Court of First Instance of 16 May contains important developments relating to the selectivity of tax aid, an area which is the subject of much controversy and is the subject of evolving case law. In July 2016, Poland introduced a tax on the retail sale of goods to (...)

Bruno Stromsky SGEI: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that measures intended to compensate providers of public interest services in the electricity sector are to be regarded as State aid, when they do not fulfil the four Altmark conditions and are financed by a tax imposed on final electricity consumers and apportioned by a body under public control (Achema)

191

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania referred several questions to the Court for a preliminary ruling on whether or not the Lithuanian rules on services of public interest in the electricity sector constituted State aid. The main doubts of the referring court related to the financing (...)

Bruno Stromsky Admissibility: The Court of Justice of the European Union dismisses for inadmissibility an action for annulment brought by an air transport company against a final decision of the European Commission rejecting the State aid qualification (Lufthansa)

125

The Deutsche Lufthansa judgment declares inadmissible the action for annulment brought by Lufthansa against a final decision of the Commission which ruled out the classification as aid of a series of measures which benefited Frankfurt Hahn airport, Ryanair and the airlines using that airport, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selective advantage: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision extending a formal investigation procedure, for lack of reasoning concerning the existence of an advantage (Deutsche Post)

93

The Court of First Instance annulled a decision to extend the formal investigation procedure taken by the Commission in 2011 concerning the granting of public funds to Deutsche Post, a former public operator. The measures examined are various and old. They have been the subject of several (...)

Bruno Stromsky State resources: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that funds financed through compulsory contributions imposed by the legislation of a Member State, managed and apportioned in accordance with the provisions of that legislation by a private entity are not to be regarded as State resources, and consequently annuls a judgment of the General Court of the European Union and a decision of the European Commission (EEG surcharge)

200

The Court’s judgment of 28 March 2019 concerns a support system for renewable energy. It is of great interest with regard to the concept of State resources and favours a restrictive concept which does not seem to be free of a certain formalism. The judgment of the Tribunal which it sets aside (...)

Bruno Stromsky State ressources: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision of the European Commission, which qualified as State aid a support granted by a consortium of banks to a bank in difficulty and considers that this support is not imputable to the State, nor financed by State resources (Banca Populare di Bari)

196

The Tribunal’s "Tercas" judgment is important in that it adopts a restrictive approach to the concept of State resources and the imputability of a measure to the State. It is to be compared with the Germany v. Commission judgment in case C-405/16 P delivered by the Court two days later (see (...)

Bruno Stromsky Universal service: The General Court of the European Union confirms the compatibility with the internal market of a universal public service compensation granted to the Polish Post, although there was no call for tender (Inpost Paczkomaty)

176

Polish Post has been granted compensation by the State for the net cost of fulfilling its universal postal service obligations for the period between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015. The Commission declared this state aid compatible with the internal market following a preliminary (...)

Bruno Stromsky Necessity and proportionality: The General Court of the European Union partially annuls a no objection decision concerning an important project of common European interest (Scandlines Danmark Aps e.a.)

124

Note: another judgment of the same day deals with the same case: Trib. EU, 13 Dec. 2018, Stena Line, case T-631/15, EU:T:2018:944 After having partially annulled on 19 September 2018 a decision not to raise any objections to aid to finance an important project of common European interest (...)

Bruno Stromsky Public service: The General Court of the European Union confirms that the granting by a national judge of a retroactive public service compensation constitutes a new unlawful and incompatible State aid when the entrustment of public service is not sufficiently detailed (ARFEA)

81

The ARFEA judgment is set in the same context as the Simet (Trib. EU, 3 March 2016, T-15/14, EU :T :2016 :124), Buonotourist (Trib. UE, 11 July 2018, T-185/15, EU :T :2018 :430) and CSTP (Trib. EU, 11 July 2018, T-186/15, EU:T:2018:431). It stems from the case law of the Italian Council of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Proportionality: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision not to raise any objection against a State aid scheme granted to the energy capacity market (Tempus Energy, Tempus Energy Technology)

82

The Tempus judgment is one of a series of recent cases in which the Court of First Instance has annulled first-phase decisions. In that case, the Court of First Instance appears to have sought to modify the prevailing analytical framework with regard to external indications of the existence of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Concept of economic activity: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision of the European Commission, which found compatible with the internal market aids granted to organisations in charge of nature conservation (Vereniging Gelijkberechtiging Grondbezitters e.a.)

86

The facts which led the Court of First Instance to annul a first-phase decision of the Commission in Case T-79/16 may appear quite trivial. The particular context of an atypical SGEI Until 2011, the Netherlands provided grants to nature conservation organisations for the acquisition of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Guarantees: The General Court of the European Union partially annuls a no objection European Commission’s decision concerning an important project of common European interest, because the European Commission had not sufficiently examined the proportionality of State guarantees granted to the consortium in charge of implementing this project (Scandlines Øresund)

90

It is quite rare for the Court of First Instance to have to deal with aid granted to an important project of common European interest. It is with regard to such a project that it delivers a very detailed judgment essentially annulling a first phase decision, the main interest of which concerns (...)

Bruno Stromsky Public interest objective: The General Court of the European Union upholds a European Commission’s decision authorizing an aid for the promotion of nuclear energy and clarifies how the objectives of the Euratom treaty match together with Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union objectives (Austria / Commission)

115

This very voluminous judgment of the Court of First Instance (736 points) confirms the validity of the Commission’s final decision of 8 October 2014, which declared compatible with the internal market three aid measures notified by the United Kingdom in favour of NNBG, a subsidiary of EDF, in (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selective nature of a scheme: The Court of Justice of the European Union annuls a judgement of the General Court and a decision of the Commission concerning the selective nature of a possibility to carry forward past losses, because the reference framework used to carry out the analysis of selectivity was too narrow and too much focused on the legislative technique used by the Member State (Dirk Andres)

154

The Dirk Andres v. Commission judgment is one of four judgments delivered on 28 June 2018 on the same Commission decision, which considered the possibility offered by Germany to companies in difficulty to carry forward losses as selective and constituting State aid. These four judgments are (...)

Bruno Stromsky Advantage: The General Court of the European Union confirms that the prolongation of a contract granting a favourable tariff for electricity supplies to an undertaking by a judge granting interim measures constitutes new aid (Alouminion tis Ellados)

102

On 26 October 2016, the Court of Justice annulled a judgment of the Court of First Instance (Trib. EU, Alouminion, Case T-542/11, see Concurrences n° 4/2014) and referred the case back to the latter (CJEU, DEI v. Alouminion, case C-590/14 P, see Concurrences n° 1-2017). Background information (...)

Bruno Stromsky State acting in its capacity as a public authority: The Court of justice of the European Union finds that, when implementing the private investor test, one should disregard the claims of the State resulting from past action carried out in its capacity as a public authority, and therefore annuls a judgement of the General Court of the European Union (FIH)

148

In its judgment of 15 September 2016 (Trib. UE, 15 Sept. 2016, FIH Holding and others. Case T-386/14, see Concurrences n° 1-2017), the Court of First Instance seemed to depart from the Land Burgenland case law (CJEU, 24 October 2013, case C-214/12 P and others). see Concurrences n°1-2014). On (...)

Bruno Stromsky De minimis’ Regulation: The Court of justice of the European Union rules that the prohibition of de minimis aids linked to export is valid and interprets it as applying only to aids whose purpose is the promotion of sales in another Member State (ZPT/Narodno)

139

The ZPT case may seem a little strange. It belongs to the often suspicious category of cases in which a company complains that it has not received State aid and the conditions under which it arose may seem quite atypical. The Bulgarian company ZPT applied for a remission of corporate tax under (...)

Bruno Stromsky Natural disaster: The General Court of the European Union rules that the European Commission rightly prohibited the payment of incompatible State aids to beneficiaries who could not provide evidence of a damage caused by a natural disaster, due to the delay elapsed since that event (Centro Clinico e Diagnostica G.B. Morgagni)

74

Italy has a habit of granting tax aid to firms located in regions which have suffered natural disasters long after the event, without such aid corresponding to the amount of damage suffered as a result of the disaster. For example, following an earthquake which struck eastern Sicily in 1990, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Procedural rights: The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision of the European Commission because it had not reopened the formal investigation procedure after the adoption of new guidelines (Gmina Miasto Gdynia)

114

Traditionally, the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance have accepted that the Commission’s thinking may change significantly between the decision to initiate the formal investigation procedure and the final State aid decision. However, the judgment in Commune of Gdynia sets a strict (...)

Bruno Stromsky Conditional decision: The Court of Justice of the European Union annuls a judgement of the General Court of the European Union ruling that an aid scheme initially declared compatible subject to conditions constitutes a new aid when these conditions have not been met by the Member State (Commission v. Italy)

116

The judgment of the Court of 25 October 2017 in the Milk Levies case demonstrates a commitment to compliance with the conditions of compatibility laid down by the authorisations for the grant of State aid and a strict understanding of the concept of existing aid. The Court clearly takes the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Admissibility: The General Court of the European Union rules that an action for annulment against a decision rejecting a complaint is not admissible, since the applicant has not demonstrated it was a competitor of the beneficiaries of the alleged aid measure (Alex SCI)

90

The imagination of complainants in the State aid sector is sometimes very fertile, and the Commission thus finds itself dealing with certain complaints that are far removed from the concerns underlying aid discipline. In this case, the Commission was confronted with a simple town-planning issue (...)

Bruno Stromsky Proportionality: The General Court of the European Union rules that the European Commission could reduce the aid amount compatible with the internal market to the amount strictly necessary to ensure that an investment project would be carried out in an assisted region, even if the thresholds laid down in the guidelines for the conduct of an in-depth assessment of the aid were not exceeded (BMW)

157

The BMW judgment of the Court of First Instance is of interest for understanding how the Commission’s margin of discretion in examining the compatibility of aid with the internal market, compliance with the guidelines it issues and compliance with the block exemption regulations are articulated. (...)

Bruno Stromsky General exemption by category: The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that an undertaking under collective insolvency proceedings on the date on which it was granted aid is not covered by the general block exemption Regulation, even if these proceedings were opened at the request of this undertaking (Nerea)

127

Firms in difficulty are excluded from the scope of the General Block Exemption Regulation, just as they are generally excluded from the scope of the Guidelines on the compatibility of aid with the internal market. They are normally covered only by the rescue and restructuring aid guidelines. (...)

Bruno Stromsky Classification decision: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that a dispute concerning a decision not to take further action still has purpose, although the European Commission took later a no aid decision (DEI)

120

This important judgment of the Court of Justice gives Athinaiki Techniki case-law (judgment of 16 Dec. 2010, Athinaiki Techniki, Case C-362/09 P) a particularly strict interpretation, which limits the possibilities of withdrawal of a complaint closure by the Commission, when the Commission (...)

Bruno Stromsky Advantage: The General Court of the European Union considers that the European Commission could not demonstrate the presence of an advantage for an air carrier resulting from an investment made by airport solely on the basis of a Member State unsubstantiated declaration attributing the investment costs to that carrier (Germanwings)

151

This judgment of the Court of First Instance contains, in particular, interesting clarifications as to how the Commission may or may not rely on the statements of the Member States in the analysis of the prudent private investor test. Zweibrücken public airport has renovated its terminal, which (...)

Bruno Stromsky Sale of public properties : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that the European Commission has a large margin of discretion when assessing the value of a mine and of a piece of land so as to determine the amount of State aid resulting from its sale (Ellinikos Chrysos)

96

In 2003 and 2004, after buying the assets of TVX, Hellas AE, the bankrupt company that operated the Cassandra gold mines, the Greek authorities resold the mines, the adjoining land and some gold reserves at a price below their market value. They also exempted the buyer from the payment of (...)

Bruno Stromsky SGEI: The General Court of the European Union rules that Denmark did not commit a manifest error of assessment when creating a service of general economic interest in the rail transport sector on a route already served by a coach operator (Jørgen Andersen)

219

After a first judgment of the Court of First Instance was partially annulled on appeal (CJEU, 6 October 2015, Commission v Jorgen Andersen, Case C-303/13 P), the Court is once again called upon to hear this case of compensation for a service of general economic interest concerning a railway (...)

Bruno Stromsky Exclusive license: The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that the European Commission may carry out a joint assessment of the granting of two exclusive licenses to the same beneficiary, so as to determine if they conferred an advantage on it (Club Hotel Loutraki)

166

With a view to the privatisation of OPAP, a public body responsible for football match forecasting and a traditional monopoly, the Greek authorities have decided to extend for 10 years the exclusive rights already granted to OPAP for the operation of 13 games of chance. This extension was (...)

Bruno Stromsky Standstill obligation: The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms the validity of a decision of the European Commission, which qualified a guarantee scheme protecting the shares of individual members of recognised financial cooperatives as a State aid (Vervloet)

220

In the context of the financial crisis of 2008, the Belgian authorities set up a guarantee system for the benefit of natural persons who held shares in three cooperative financial companies of the ARCO Group, which was at the time one of the main shareholders of Dexia. This scheme was notified (...)

Bruno Stromsky Judicial suspension of the effects of the termination: The Court of Justice of the European Union, unlike the General Court of the European Union, considers that the prolongation of a contract granting a favourable tariff for electricity supplies to an undertaking imposed by the judge as interim relief is a new State aid (DEI / Alouminion)

126

The Court of Justice allowed the appeal brought by DEI, an intervener at first instance in support of the Commission, against the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 8 October 2014 (TEU, Alouminion v Commission, Case T-542/111). Without itself lodging an appeal, the Commission intervened (...)

Bruno Stromsky Non-commercial entities: The General Court of the European Union rules that it was absolutely impossible to recover aid resulting from the exception of municipal tax on real estate property in a case where no appropriate cadastral data were available (Pietro Ferracci)

138

The Italian legislation granted a number of advantages to non-commercial entities, including in the context of their commercial activities, where available. Among the beneficiaries concerned were many religious entities. Having received complaints, the Commission has examined an Italian (...)

Bruno Stromsky State acting as a public authority : The General Court of the European Union annuls a European Commission’s decision because it applied the private investor test instead of the private creditor test in a situation where the claim of the State resulted from an action carried out in its capacity as a public authority (FIH)

169

The "FIH" judgment proposes a new answer to a question which seemed to be resolved by the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Land Burgenland (CJEU, 24 October 2013, Land Burgenland and Others v Commission(Case C-214/12 P e.a.). when applying the prudent private (...)

Bruno Stromsky Exemption by category: The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms the mandatory nature of the conditions for exemption set by a regulation, which exempts Member States from the obligation to notify certain categories of aid, even if the violated condition is limited to a lack of express reference to this regulation by the aid scheme (Dilly’s Wellnesshotel)

113

Issue of the case In recent years, the scope of block exemptions for aid has widened considerably, to the extent that they now account for a very substantial proportion of the aid granted by Member States. However, Member States have in some cases moved away from the conditions for exemption (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid schemes: The General Court of the European Union rules that the European Commission is not obliged to carry out a refined economic analysis to establish the compatibility with the internal market of an aid scheme for amateur climbing centres (Magic Mountain Kletterhallen)

123

The Magic Mountain Kletterhallen judgment illustrates rather well the wide margin of appreciation available to the Commission when it has to decide on the compatibility of an aid scheme causing only minor distortions of competition in the absence of guidelines, particularly in the amateur sport (...)

Bruno Stromsky State resources: The General Court of the European Union rules that funds financed through compulsory contributions imposed by the legislation of a Member State, administered and apportioned in accordance with that legislation, may be regarded as State resources even if they are administered by entities separate from the public authorities (Germany / Commission)

137

The judgment of 10 May 2016 is of significant interest as regards the concept of state resources. It recalls and clarifies the limits of the PreussenElektra case law (CJEU, 13 March 2001, case C-379/98) and is in line with the Essent (CJEU, 17 July 2008, case C-206/06) and Vent de Colère! (...)

Bruno Stromsky Insolvency procedure: The General Court of the European Union rules that the European Commission did not carry out a sufficiently diligent examination of the possible willingness of a private creditor to accept a settlement of its claims in the contest of an insolvency procedure (Frucona Kosice / Commission)

173

The Court of First Instance had to re-examine a composition agreement accepted in 2004 by the Slovak tax authorities and approved by a national court, which the Commission had classified as state aid incompatible with the internal market and ordered to be recovered. In particular, the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selective nature of a tax measure: The General Court of the European Union rules that a selective advantage arises from the possibility to carry forward past losses which is made available for firms in difficulty whose shareholders have changed when such a possibility is normally lost by firms whose shareholders have changed (Heitkamp BauHolding / Commission)

105

The two judgments of 4 February 2016 (in addition to the Heitkamp BauHolding v. Commission judgment which is discussed here, the Tribunal delivered another judgment on the same day: Trib. UE, 4 February 2016, GFKL Financial Services v. Commission. This last judgment will not be discussed below (...)

Bruno Stromsky Undertaking in difficulty: The General Court of the European Union upholds the analysis carried out by the Commission in respect of a capital injection into a firm in difficulty as regards imputability of the measure to the Member State and its non-compliance with the private investor test (Slovenia / Commission)

152

Elan, a Slovenian company active in the production and marketing of ski equipment and sea-going vessels such as yachts, was majority controlled by the Slovenian State through various companies. Approximately 75 % of its capital was held by 3 companies, KAD, DSU, and KAD-PPS, which were wholly (...)

Bruno Stromsky Rescue and restructuring: The General Court of the European Union considers that the European Commission could make the compatibility of a restructuring aid to a bank conditional on the dilution of the shares of some of its shareholders (HSH Investment Holdings Coinvest-C, HSH Investment Holdings FSO)

106

During the financial crisis, the HSH Group, Germany’s fifth largest Landesbank, had, like many other financial institutions, to be recapitalised with State support and to obtain guarantees from the State against losses that could affect its portfolio. After provisionally approving these rescue (...)

Bruno Stromsky Tender procedure: The General Court of the European Union confirms the Commission position concerning the estimate of the market price of two plots of land and a production unit based on diverging expert reports (Hammar Nordic Plugg)

117

In order to safeguard employment and the activity of a frozen vegetable production company located on its territory, a Swedish municipality purchased in 2008, then leased and resold two plots of land and a production unit through a real estate company owned by the municipality, FABV. On the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Formal procedure : The General Court of the European Union considers that the Commission could not reopen a formal investigation procedure after having adopted a final decision on the same measures, even though that final decision has been annulled after the reopening (Deutsche Post)

87

The Court of First Instance annulled a decision to initiate the formal investigation procedure taken by the Commission in 2007 concerning the grant of public funds to Deutsche Post, a former public operator. The measures examined are various and old. They have been the subject of several (...)

Bruno Stromsky Private investor test : The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission’s decision which ruled that the reduction of the sale price for a piece of land that had been accepted by a municipality was not compliant with the private investor test (Netherlands / Commission)

122

The application of the principle of the prudent private investor in a market economy is often, in practice, a delicate exercise, particularly when it comes to land sales or purchases. The judgment of the Court of First Instance of 30 June 2015 confirms this. It recalls in particular the need to (...)

Bruno Stromsky New aid : The General Court of the European Union considers that the Commission could not find new aid in relation to an aid scheme initially declared compatible subject to conditions which were not respected by the Member State (Italy/Commission)

173

Between 1995 and 2002, Italian producers exceeded the milk quotas allocated to them. They should therefore have paid additional levies to the European Union. However, Italy has asked the Council to authorise the introduction of an aid scheme for these producers to enable them to pay these (...)

Bruno Stromsky Recovery : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that a Member State can be obliged to define the relevant market in the framework of the recovery of unlawful incompatible State aid (Commission/Germany)

177

The Court’s judgment of 6 May against Germany on failure to fulfil its obligations addresses a rather atypical question in relation to those generally apprehended by such judgments delivered on the basis of Article 108(2) TFEU. It is situated, so to speak, at the confluence of a problem of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Incompatible aid : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms the validity of the Commission’s decision, which declares incompatible with the internal market an aid unduly prolonged to a bank in difficulty, although this bank had ceased its activity since the granting of the aid (Banco Privado Português)

218

CJEU, 5 March 2015, Banco Privado Português and Massa Insolvente do Banco Privado Português, aff.C-667/13 In March 2009, in the context of the financial crisis, the Commission provisionally authorised, for a period of 6 months, a (low-interest) Portuguese state guarantee in favour of Banco (...)

Bruno Stromsky Exclusive license : The General Court of the European Union rules that the Commission could carry out a joint assessment of the granting of two exclusive licenses to the same beneficiary, so as to determine if they conferred an advantage on it, taking into account the context in which those transactions took place (Club Hotel Loutraki)

213

Trib. EU, 8 Jan. 2015, Club Hotel Loutraki, Case T-58/13 In recent years, Greece has had to consider the privatisation of a number of enterprises, including traditional monopolies. Historically, the Public Prognostic Body for Football Prognosis (OPAP) had exclusive rights for the operation of (...)

Bruno Stromsky SGEI : The General Court of the European Union rules that aid to electricity generators using domestically-sourced coal in order to ensure a Member States’ security of supplies is in line with Union State aid rules (Castelnou Energia)

192

The Spanish rules identify 10 power stations which are obliged to obtain supplies of coal of Spanish origin, whose price is higher than that of other fuels, and to produce certain volumes of electricity from that coal. In order to alleviate the difficulties resulting for these power stations (...)

Bruno Stromsky Exoneration of tax : The General Court of the European Union annuls the decision not to open the formal investigation procedure concerning an exoneration of tax in the air-transport sector, on the basis that the justification given as to the detailed arrangements for the exoneration was not coherent (Ryanair)

142

In recent months, the Court of First Instance has annulled several Commission decisions on the ground that the Commission erred in considering certain measures, in particular tax measures, to be selective. In its judgment of 25 November 2014, however, it annulled for the opposite reason a (...)

Bruno Stromsky New aid : The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission’s decision, which has found new aid to exist in the prolongation by a judge granting interim measures of the effect of a contract granting a favourable tariff for electricity supplies to an undertaking (Alouminion)

222

The Court of First Instance had to rule on the classification as new aid of a measure extending a preferential tariff, itself constituting existing aid, with the particularity that the extension was decided on a temporary basis by the interim relief judge. Whereas the Commission had considered (...)

Bruno Stromsky Imputability : The Court of Justice of the European Union considers that the imputability of a measure to the State is not excluded by the mere fact that the managing director of a public undertaking granted guarantees to another undertaking in breach of the internal rules of the former undertaking and without its knowledge (Commerz Nederland, Havenbedrijft Rotterdam)

246

In the context of a preliminary question, the Court was led to clarify the concept of imputability of a measure to the State and the meaning of its leading judgment on the subject, the Stardust judgment (judgment of the Court of 16 May 2002 in Case C-482/99 France v Commission). The atypical (...)

Bruno Stromsky Fiscal aid : The General Court of the European Union considers that differentiated taxes on entry fees in casinos do not necessarily reveal the existence of an advantage for some of them (Greece / Commission)

82

Taxes on gambling are generally very high. Greece has a long-standing tax on entries to casinos. However, it has been set at different levels in different casinos. Specifically, Greece has introduced a uniform 80% tax on casino entrance tickets and has set two different legal prices (€15 and €6) (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selectivity : The General Court of the European Union annuls a decision to open formal proceedings concerning an aid resulting from the setting of airport fees, because this aid would not be selective, since it applies to all airport companies using the airport (Hansestadt Lübeck)

114

The judgment of the Hansestadt Lübeck Tribunal may come as a great surprise for at least two reasons: on the one hand, it annuls a decision to initiate the formal investigation procedure, which is rare. Appeals against such decisions are quite often inadmissible and, where they are admissible, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Conditions of compatibility : The General Court of the European Union considers that the Commission could make the compatibility of a restructuring aid to a bank conditional on its sale by its public shareholders (Westfälisch-Lippischer Sparkassen – und Giroverband)

94

In the wake of the subprime crisis, WestLB ran into serious difficulties which forced it to resort to a hive-off structure to accommodate its risky mortgage assets. The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia had to guarantee the repayment of the bonds issued by the hive-off vehicle up to €5 billion, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Restructuring aid : The General Court of the European Union considers that the Commission could impose a general acquisition ban of shares in other undertakings on a bank benefitting from a restructuring aid (ABN Amro Group)

80

In the context of the financial crisis, the Dutch State has acquired several banking and commercial entities, including the Dutch subsidiary of Fortis Bank and certain business units of ABN Amro Holding. It decided to merge one of these units with the Dutch subsidiary of Fortis and to set up a (...)

Bruno Stromsky Market economy investor : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that the market economy investor principle is applicable to the amendments to the repayment terms for State aid (Commission / Netherlands, ING Groep)

104

At first instance, the Court of First Instance partially annulled the Commission’s decision of 18 November 2009 classifying a series of measures in favour of ING in the context of the banking crisis as compatible aid, taking into account the commitments given by the Dutch authorities (Trib. EU, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Mining industry : The General Court of the European Union considers that an agreement concluded between the State and an operator, which protects the latter against an increase of mining fees in connection with the extraction of hydrocarbons, is not always selective (MOL)

125

In 2005, the Hungarian authorities and MOL, an oil and gas company, signed an agreement to extend the latter’s mining rights for 12 hydrocarbon deposits for which it had an operating licence but had not started production. Under the agreement, MOL was to pay a mining royalty applicable to all (...)

Bruno Stromsky Private vendor test : The Court of Justice of the European Union confirms that the obligations of a Member State resulting from the granting of a an aid cannot be taken into account when applying the private vendor test (Land Burgenland)

188

The Court had before it appeals against the judgments in Burgenland (TEU, 28 February 2012, Land Burgenland and Republic of Austria v Commission, Joined Cases T-268/08 and T-281/08) and GRAWE (TEU, 28 February 2012, Grazer Wechselseitige Versicherung v Commission, Case T-282/08).. The Court of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Notion of undertaking: The General Court clarifies that a secondary activity performed by an entity whose main activity is not economic might be economic, unless those activities are indivisible

123

This very interesting judgment of the Court of First Instance recalls and clarifies the contours of the concept of undertaking and economic activity, in particular where the activity under examination is secondary or even ancillary to a principal activity which is not economic. The facts at (...)

Bruno Stromsky Regional Aid: The Court of Justice confirms that a Regional aid is not compatible with the Internal Market if it has not been sought by the beneficiary before beginning works (HGA)

88

The Court had to rule on appeal on the incentive effect of regional aid. In principle, aid without which the objective allegedly pursued by the recipient would have been pursued in any event cannot be declared compatible with the internal market. While the principle may seem fairly simple and (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid to shipbuilding: The Court of Justice rules that Article 346 TFEU cannot be invoked to avoid the application of State aid rules to activities that are not specifically military (Ellinika Nafpigeia)

170

CJEU, 28 February 2013, Ellinika Nafpigeia v Commission, Case C-246/12 P The Greek shipyards HSY (otherwise known as Ellinika Nafpigeia AE, ’EN’) have appealed against thejudgment of the Court of First Instance of 15 March 2012 in Case T-21/08. (Trib UE, 15 March 2012, Ellinika Nafpigeia v (...)

Bruno Stromsky Private investor test: The General Court rules that an applicant should show that the factual assessments used in the decision are implausible in order to challenge the assessment of facts in the implementation of the private investor test (Nitrogenmuvek Vegyipari)

182

Trib. UE, 27 February 2013, Nitrogenmuvek Vegyipari v Commission, Case T-387/11 In December 2008 and January 2009, the Hungarian artificial fertiliser company Nitrogenmuvek Vegyipari Zrt. received two State-guaranteed credits totalling approximately EUR 88 million from the Hungarian (...)

Bruno Stromsky Rescue aid: The European Commission temporarily approves rescue aid in the form of guarantees on the basis of commitments from the Member State (Crédit Immobilier de France)

85

The Commission has authorised aid in the form of a guarantee of up to €18 billion for Crédit Immobilier de France (CIF) so as to enable the State to present within six months a plan for the orderly resolution of the group. This measure was made necessary by the immediate threat of a default on (...)

Bruno Stromsky Collective bankruptcy procedure: The Court of Justice rules that the European Commission should have assessed whether the duration of the bankruptcy procedure would have influenced the decision-making process of the private creditor of an undertaking experiencing difficulties in choosing between an arrangement and a bankruptcy (Frucona Kosice)

169

CJEU, 24 January 2013, Frucona Kosice v Commission, Case C-73/11 P The judgment of the Court Frucona Kosice clarifies the duty of the Commission to state reasons when applying the market economy private creditor test to determine whether or not the partial waiver of a claim by the State (...)

Bruno Stromsky Concept of undertaking: The Court of Justice rules that airport operators have to subsidise on their own resources the costs of the infrastructures which are the basis of their economic activity, if the activity of constructing is not linked, as such, to the exercise of State authority (Mitteldeutsche Flughafen and Flughafen Leipzig)

3364

CJEU, 19.12.12, Mitteldeutsche Flughafen and Flughafen Leipzig v Commission, C-288/11P The major judgment delivered by the Court of First Instance on 24 March 2011 in Joined Cases T-443/08 and T-455/08 will certainly be remembered.. For the first time, the Court of First Instance ruled on the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid granted prior to accession: The Court of Justice rules that the Bulgarian authorities may adopt on their own motion a decision to recover State aid granted prior to accession, which does not satisfy the conditions of a Protocol to the Europe Agreement (Kremikovtzi)

100

CJEU, 29.11.12, Kremikovtzi v. Ministar na ikonomikata, C-262/11 Reference was made to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling by a Bulgarian national court on the provisions applicable to the recovery of aid granted before accession in 2007 to the steel company Kremikovtzi (the only (...)

Bruno Stromsky Procedure - Revision: The European Commission launches a general public consultation on the application of the general block exemption regulation in anticipation of its revision in 2013

91

This consultation, launched on 20 June 2012 as part of the drive to modernise state aid rules, is accompanied by more specific consultations on guidelines applicable in certain sectors (some of which are set out below) to ensure the coherence of the new measures. In particular, public (...)

Bruno Stromsky Revision of guidelines on risk-capital: The European Commission launches a public consultation on the use of State aid rules aiming at supporting the risk-capital investment

109

Launched on 16 July 2012, this consultation seeks the views of Member States and other interested parties on market developments regarding access to finance for SMEs (in particular as regards the provision of equity or loans). This revision is also in line with the objectives of the strategy (...)

Bruno Stromsky Procedure - Revision of guidelines: The European Commission launches a public consultation on the protection of the environment and of aid for the protection of the environment in the General Block Exemption Regulation

90

This public consultation on the functioning of the Environmental State Aid Guidelines adopted in 2008 provides an opportunity for stakeholders to express their views on general support measures for environmental protection and on the use and effectiveness of aid granted by Member States. It is (...)

Bruno Stromsky National regional aid – Legal effect of guidelines : The General Court annuls a Commission decision concerning a regional aid for interpreting the regional guidelines as depriving it from its discretionary power (Smurfit Kappa Group)

99

Trib.UE, 10 July 2012, Smurfit Kappa Group plc v European Commission, Case T-304/08 This judgment of the Court of First Instance, delivered in respect of regional aid for the construction of a paper mill and a generator in the Region of North-East Brandenburg, is of particular interest for the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Taxation of capital - Gains – Selectivity: The Court of Justice confirms the selectivity of a realignment plan on tax values but deepens the judicial review on the justification of such measures by the nature and economy of this tax system (BNP Paribas et Banca Nazionale del Lavoro)

149

CJEU, 21.06.12, BNP Paribas and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA (BNL) v. European Commission, case C-452/10 P The Court of Justice had to rule on an appeal against a judgment of the General Court of 1 July 2010 (Case T-335/08), commented on in the review Concurrences (No 4-2010, p. 174). The (...)

Bruno Stromsky Restructuring aid – Relief of pension financing: The European Commission approves, under certain conditions, State aid for the financing of pension relief and restructuring aid in favour of the postal incumbent operator (Royal Mail Group)

205

Eur. comm., Dec. 21, 2012, United Kingdom - Royal Mail Group, aff. SA.31479 The Commission’s decision on Royal Mail is twofold: firstly, it declares aid which leads the State to take over part of the retirement pensions due to former staff by the incumbent postal operator to be conditionally (...)

Bruno Stromsky Misuse of aid: The General Court rules that the Greek authorities have committed a misuse of aid granted to a shipyard initially authorised by the Commission under certain conditions, and interprets strictly the derogations about the protection of the essential interests of the States laid down by the Treaty (Ellinika Nafpigeia)

181

Trib. EU, 15 March 2012, Ellinika Nafpigeia v Commission, Case T-391/08 The Court dismissed an action for annulment of the Commission’s decision of 8 July 2008, by which the Commission had decided on 16 measures in favour of Hellenic Shipyards (’HSY’). A first series of actions against that (...)

Bruno Stromsky Advantage – Selectivity: The General Court reduces State’s freedom to grant exemptions from an environmental levy, since every exemption has to be justified taking into account the objective pursued by this levy (British Aggregates/Commission)

257

Trib. EU, 7 March 2012, British Aggregates v Commission, Case T-210/02 RENV Following a very interesting appeal judgment of 22 December 2008 (ECJ, 22 December 2008, British Aggregates Association v. Commission, Case C-487/06 P), the Court of First Instance was called upon to review a (...)

Bruno Stromsky Private investor test: The General Court rules that the private investor test principle should be applied for the assessment of amendments to the repayment terms for a capital injection in a bank and annuls partly the decision (Netherlands and ING Groep)

223

GCEU, 2 March 2012, Netherlands and ING Groep v. Commission, joined cases T-29/10 and T-33/10 The Court of First Instance annuls a Commission decision which, on the basis of commitments on the part of the Netherlands, classified as compatible aid a change in the conditions for repayment of a (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selectivity: The Court of Justice rules that time-limited tax concessions in favour of newly listed companies are selective measures and can be considered as operating aid (Italy)

233

CJEU, 24 November 2011, Italy v Commission, Case C-458/09 P In 2005, the Commission adopted a decision declaring incompatible with the common market and ordering the recovery of aid. The tax incentive scheme in question was introduced in 2003 to encourage companies to go public. Italy (...)

Bruno Stromsky Imputability – State resources: The General Court rules that in order to assess whether an indemnifying guarantee constitutes State aid, regard must be had to the moment when the State undertakes a legally binding commitment to provide the guarantee (Elliniki Nafpigokataskevastiki/Commission)

285

GCEU, 10 November 2011, Elliniki Nafpigokataskevastiki a.o. v. Commission, Case T-384/08 A guarantee against recovery of incompatible unlawful aid granted in a highly complex factual context ---- In 2001, Greece decided to fully privatise Hellenic Shipyard SA (’HSY’), hitherto majority owned by (...)

Bruno Stromsky Private creditor behaviour test: The General Court endorses the analysis by the Commission of a private creditor behaviour test applied to a debt rescheduling granted by a wages guarantee fund and a Social Security body (Sniace)

359

GCEU, 30 November 2011, Sniace v. Commission, Case T-238/09 The Sniace judgment of 30 November 2011 is the culmination of a long controversy punctuated by several judgments of the General Court and the Court of Justice and several Commission decisions. SNIACE is a Spanish company in the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Evidence of participation in the cartel – Fines: The General Court dismisses the appeals and examines specifically the elements of calculation of the fine (Denki Kagaku Kogyo and Denka Chemicals)

203

Trib. EU, 2 February 2012, Denki Kagaku Kogyo and Denka Chemicals v Commission, Case T-83/08, "Chloroprene Rubber Market". On 2 February 2008, the Court of First Instance of the European Union delivered a judgment in Case T-83/08 brought by several applicants seeking, principally, the (...)

Bruno Stromsky Breach of obligation by a Member State: The Court of Justice adopts the same approach as in Case C-303/09 in relation to the lack of implementation of the Commission decision of 1999 relating to aid measures granted to undertakings established on Venise and Chiogga territories (Italy)

300

CJEU, 6 October 2011, Commission v. Italy, Case C-302/09 This judgment on failure to fulfil obligations is based on the reasoning and solution of the judgment in Commission v Italy of 5 May 2011 (Case C-305/09), which itself was not far removed from the Commission v. Italy judgment of 22 (...)

Bruno Stromsky Appeal - Serious difficultie: The General Court confirms that the Commission should have had doubts as to the compatibility with the common market of measures taken in favour of the Belgian Post Office (Deutsche Post)

329

CJEU, 22 September 2011, Belgium v. Deutsche Post a.o., case C-148/09 P On 10 February 2009, the Court of First Instance annulled a Commission decision of 23 July 2003, taken at the end of the preliminary examination phase, not to raise objections to seven complex measures (six of which were (...)

Bruno Stromsky Appeal - Digital Terrestrial television: The Court of Justice upholds the use by the Commission of the refined economic approach to evaluate the compatibility of an aid for the switch-over from analogue television to digital television (Germany)

328

CJEU, 15 September 2011, Germany v Commission, Case C-544/09 P Germany brought an appeal against thejudgment of the General Court of 6 October 2009 (Case T-21/06). The Court dismissed the action for annulment of a Commission decision of 9 November 2005 declaring aid for the switchover from (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid scheme for SMEs: The General Court considers that the Commission’s power of appraisal of an aid’s compatibility cannot be exhausted by the adoption of general rules of execution (Freistaat Sachsen)

327

Trib. EU, 14 July 2011, Freistaat Sachsen v Commission, Case T-357/02 RENV The Court of First Instance had before it again a Commission decision declaring an aid scheme introduced by the Land of Saxony for small and medium-sized enterprises to be incompatible with the common market in part. By (...)

Bruno Stromsky Breach of obligation by a Member State : The Court of Justice CJEU again rules against Italy for failure to implement recovery decisions regarding illegal incompatible aid (Commission v. Italie)

397

CJEU, 14 July 2011, Commission v. Italy, Case C-303/09 This judgment on failure to fulfil obligations is based on the reasoning and solution of the judgment in Commission v Italy of 5 May 2011 (Case C-305/09), which itself was not far removed from the Commission v. Italy judgment of 22 (...)

Bruno Stromsky Appeal: The Court of Justice confirms the validity of a Commission Decision taken after a long examination procedure on the incompatibility of an aid scheme creating a corporate tax exemption (Diputación Foral de Vizcaya)

433

CJEU, 9 June 2011, Diputación Foral de Vizcaya and Others v Commission, Case C-465/09 P to C-470/09 P. The Court had before it appeals brought by the Basque Territories against a judgment of the Court of First Instance of 9 September 2009 (Joined Cases T-30/01 to T-32/01 and T-86/02 to (...)

Bruno Stromsky Absence of State aid: The European Commission considers that the grant of the fourth UMTS licence at a price lower than those of the three previous licences does not constitue a selective advantage (Fourth UMTS mobile telephone licence - France)

386

European Commission, decision C (2011) 2609 final of 10 May 2011, Fourth UMTS mobile telephone licence - France, OJ C 196 of 5 July 2011 In January 2010, the French authorities awarded the fourth new-generation mobile telephony license (UMTS) to Free (a new entrant for this type of license) in (...)

Bruno Stromsky Temporary defensive mechanism for shipbuiding: The General Court rules that a Regulation is not applicable to an aid notified after the expiry of this Regulation, although this aid only aims at increasing substantially the amount of an aid already authorised in compliance with that Regulation (Italy)

613

Trib. EU, 3 February 2011, Italy v. Commission, Case T-3/09 In 2002, the Council adopted Regulation No 1177/2002, which creates a temporary defensive mechanism for shipbuilding in view of the serious injury suffered by Community shipyards as a result of unfair Korean competition. This was an (...)

Bruno Stromsky Temporary defensive mechanism for shipbuiding: The General Court rules that a Regulation is not applicable to an aid notified after the expiry of this Regulation, although this aid only aims at increasing substantially the amount of an aid already authorised in compliance with that Regulation (Cantiere Navale De Poli)

2947

Trib. EU, 3 February 2011, Cantiere navale De Poli v Commission, Case T-584/08 This judgment of the Court of First Instance examines the action for annulment brought by a shipyard located in Venice against a Commission decision of 21 October 2008 declaring incompatible with the common market (...)

Bruno Stromsky Export – Credit insurance: The European Commission considers as compatible with the internal market the temporary extension, by Hungary, for one year of an export credit insurance measure in favour of SMEs with limited export turnover

709

Eur. comm. dec. C(2010) 9454 final, 21 December 2010, Prolongation of the short-term export-credit insurance for SMEs with limited export turnover - Hungary, case N 483/2010 The Commission has authorised the prolongation for one year, until the end of December 2011, of a Hungarian scheme of (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid in the agriculture sector: The Court of Justice confirms that the Commission is obliged to hold that a measure is incompatible with the common market, when it comes within the scope of the guidelines it has issued and does not respect one of its conditions (Holland Malt)

741

The Netherlands granted investment aid to Holland Malt for the construction of a new malting plant which would have improved the quality of the beneficiary’s products and increased its production capacity. In deciding on the compatibility of the aid with the common market, the Commission (...)

Bruno Stromsky Burden of proof of an error of the Commission: The CFI dismisses an application lodged by a private broadcaster against a decision concerning State aid measure in favour of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television. It confirms that the applicant bears the burden of proof to demonstrate a manifest error by the Commission in the analysis of the compatibility of a State aid and that this burden is particularly difficult to discharge (FAB)

1724

CFI, 6 October 2009, FAB v Commission, Case T-8/06 This case concerns the same decision as the one contested in the case commented on above. T-21/06, but the appeal brought by FAB, while containing more pleas in law than that of Germany, was much weaker than the latter. The applicant, FAB, is (...)

Bruno Stromsky Evaluation of the market value: The ECJ sets aside a judgment of the General Court, because it exceeded its review jurisdiction on the assessment of the market value of land by the Commission (Scott)

1033

CJEU, 2 September 2010, Commission v. Scott, case C-290/07P The facts in the Scott case go back to 1987. In that year the French public authorities granted a private company, Scott, certain advantages, in particular the sale of a plot of land at a low price and a contribution to its (...)

Bruno Stromsky Training aid: The General Court confirms that an aid measure, which is not necessary in order to reach an objective of common interest (in this case the training of workers) is not compatible with the common market (Freistaat Sachsen and Land Sachsen-Anhalt)

926

GCEU, 8 July 2010, Freistaat Sachsen and Land Sachsen-Anhalt v. Commission, T-396/08 In 2005, after negotiations with several airports, DHL decided to move its European airfreight hub from Brussels to Leipzig/Halle, starting in 2008. For its new location, DHL received regional aid, to which (...)

Bruno Stromsky Concept of advantage: The General Court confirms that an alleged compensatory rationale cannot be used in an extensive manner by a Member State to escape the State aid discipline (ThyssenKrupp Acciai Speciali Terni)

979

GCEU, 1st July 2010, ThyssenKrupp Acciai Speciali Terni v. Commission, case T-62/08 In 1962, Italy nationalized the electricity sector. This measure normally exempted companies that produced electricity mainly for self-generation (’autoproducers’), with the exception of those whose activity was (...)

Bruno Stromsky Concept of advantage: The General Court rejects the action in annulment against a decision holding as State aids measures permitting continuation of special tarifs for electricity supply (Italy)

1058

Trib. EU, 1 July 2010 Italy v Commission, Case T-53/08 Italy had also brought an action for annulment of the decision of 20 November 2007 declaring incompatible with the common market the aid received by the Terni companies in the form of an extension of their preferential electricity supply (...)

Bruno Stromsky Recovery of incompatible aid: The General Court confirms a Commission decision ordering the recovery of an aid promoting the purchase of numerical terminals and recalls that State aid rules do not require the Commission to establish the amount of the aid to be recovered provided the decision gives sufficiently detailed indications allowing the beneficiary to determine this amount by itself without any excessive difficulty (Mediaset)

1054

Trib. EU, 15 June 2010, Mediaset v Commission, Case T-177/07 In 2001, Italy launched the process of digitisation of television signals, with a view to completing the digital switchover and ending analogue transmission by the end of 2006. Since then, the planned date for the analogue switch-off (...)

Bruno Stromsky State aid 2010 scoreboard: The European Commission publishes scoreboards showing reduced use of the aid granted to financial institutions in the context of the financial crisis

1178

Report from the Commission, 27 May 2010, State Aid Scoreboard - Report on recent developments on crisis aid to the financial sector - Spring 2010 Update, COM(2010) 255 final The Commission’s State Aid Scoreboard concludes that there is a gradual return to market conditions in the banking (...)

Bruno Stromsky Aid scheme - Preliminary ruling: The ECJ answers a request for preliminary ruling in interpretation of the validity of two Commission decisions by judging that a decision has the effect of authorising an aid scheme but does not impose it on the Member State concerned, which is not under an obligation to implement it (Todaro Nunziatina)

1036

CJEU, 20 May 2010, Todaro Nunziatina & C, aff. C-138/09 The Court was questioned by a court in Palermo on the interpretation and validity of two Commission decisions, one of 1995 and the other of 2003, concerning an aid scheme for employment in the Region of Sicily. In its 1995 decision, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Annulation - Recovery of State aid: The General Court annuls a Commission decision concerning the recovery of State aid in the forms of an equity injection and of guarantees to firms in difficulty, considering that the Commission has not sufficiently reasoned its quantification of the aid involved (Freistaat Sachsen)

1681

General Court, 3 March 2010, Freistaat Sachsen v. Commission, joined cases T-102/07 and T-120/07 Between March 2001 and December 2003 companies of the Biria Group, a bicycle manufacturer and distributor, received three financial contributions from the public authorities: a silent partnership (...)

Bruno Stromsky Additional recapitalisation package: The European Commission temporarily approves additional recapitalisation package in favour of Dutch banks (ABN Amro ; Fortis Bank Nederland)

1153

Eur. Comm, 5 February 10, Recapitalisation measures in favour of FBN and ABN Amro Group, case C 11/09 [related to NN 2/10 (ex N 429/09) and N 19/10], OJ C95, 15 April 2010, p. 10 (Invitation to submit comments). By decision of 5 February 2010, the Commission temporarily approved €6.9 billion (...)

Bruno Stromsky Repayment of unlawful aid: The ECJ confirms a judgment of the General Court on the obligation for the recipient undertaking first to repay earlier unlawful aid (Iride et Iride Energia)

1547

CJEU (ord.), 21 January 2010, Iride and Iride Energia v Commission, Case C-150/09 P The Court dismissed as partly manifestly inadmissible and partly manifestly unfounded an appeal against the judgment of the General Court of 11 February 2009 in Case T-25/07 Iride and Iride Energia v (...)

Bruno Stromsky Opening of a formal procedure of examination: The CFI considers that the legal basis of a State aid measure, which only refers to national products, raises serious difficulties, which should have led the European Commission to initiate a formal procedure (Scheucher-Fleisch)

1893

CFI, 18 November 2009, Scheucher-Fleisch v. Commission, Case T-375/04 The context and subject matter of the dispute In 1992 Austria had introduced aid to encourage the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products by means of the ’AMA’ organic and quality labels. These aids were (...)

Bruno Stromsky Compatibility: The CFI endorses the refined economic approach used by the European Commission for the assessment of compatibility of a State aid measure in favour of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television (Germany)

1689

CFI, 6 October 2009, Germany v. Commission, Case T-21/06 The many criticisms made by Germany of the economic approach followed by the Commission ---- For the first time, the Court of First Instance had to rule on the legality of a Commission decision based on the ’refined economic approach’ in (...)

Bruno Stromsky Selective State aid qualified as incompatible operating aid : The CFI confirms that an aid, limited in time, in favour of undertakings newly introduced on the stock exchange, is selective and that it can be qualified as an incompatible operating aid (Italy)

1787

CFI, 4 September 2009, Italian Republic v Commission, Case T 211/05 Italy wanted to encourage companies to go public and in 2003 introduced a tax incentive scheme for companies listed on a European regulated market without prior notification of the aid measure to the Commission. At the end (...)

Bruno Stromsky Recovery - Interest rates: The European Commission issues a notice on current State aid recovery interest rates and reference/discount rates for 27 Member States applicable as from 1 August 2009

2398

Commission notice on current State aid recovery interest rates and reference/discount rates for 27 Member States applicable as from 1 August 2009, Published in accordance with Article 10 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 of 21 April 2004, OJ C179, 1 August 2009, p. 7. On 1 August 2009, (...)

Bruno Stromsky Recovery of aid unlawfully granted: The CFI holds that the European Commission is allowed to order the recovery of aid unlawfully granted before its accession to the EU (ISD Polska and Industrial Union of Donbass)

1712

CFI, 1 July 2009, ISD Polska and Industrial Union of Donbass a.o. v. Commission, joined cases T-297/06 and T 297/06 Between 2002 and 2005, the Polish steel producer Huta Czestochowa S.A. "(’HCz’) was restructured after having received State aid in various forms in the period 1997 2002. Its (...)

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