State aid judicial review

State Aid

The EU General Court of Justice finds that the aid measures introduced by Sweden and Denmark for an airline company’s damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of flights in the wake of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic comply with EU law (Ryanair) Free
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
Aid measures introduced by Sweden and Denmark for SAS for damage resulting from the cancellation or rescheduling of flights in the wake of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic comply with EU law* Given that SAS’s market share is much higher than that of its closest competitor in (...)

The EU General Court provides further guidance on the standard of judicial review of Commission decisions not to raise objections at the end of a preliminary examination phase (Achema / Lifosa) (Verband Deutscher Alten)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 April 2021, the General Court delivered two judgments (Achema and Lifosa, Case T-300/19, and Verband Deutscher Alten und Behindertenhilfe and CarePool Hannover, Case T-69/18, hereinafter “Achema” and “Verband Deutscher Alten”), which provide further guidance on the standard of judicial review (...)

The EU General Court rejects a company’s actions for annulment against decisions of the Commission on COVID-19 individual aid in the aviation sector (Ryanair) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 April 2020, the General Court dismissed the actions for annulment brought by Ryanair against three decisions of the Commission authorising State aid in the airline sector. These judgments were delivered by the same Tenth Chamber (extended composition), which had already dismissed in (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms shortcomings of the Commission’s State aid investigation into progressive turnover-based taxes adopted by Hungary and Poland
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 March 2021, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rejected the appeals brought by the Commission against the General Court’s (“GC)” judgments concerning progressive turnover-based taxes adopted by Hungary (Case C-596/19 P) and Poland (Case C-562/19 P). The national (...)

The EU Court of Justice further relaxes the standards of review of “aid schemes” and annuls the General Court’s judgment on Spanish football clubs (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 March 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) delivered another interesting judgment (Case C-362/19 P) in the “Spanish football club saga”, which set aside the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment of 26 February 2019, Fútbol Club Barcelona v Commission (Case T-865/16, the “judgment under appeal”), (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court which annuls the Commission’s decision and classifies as State aid the Spanish tax scheme in the football clubs sector (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice sets aside the judgment of the General Court by which the Commission’s decision classifying as State aid the tax scheme of four Spanish professional football clubs had been annulled* The action which had been brought by Fútbol Club Barcelona against that decision is (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that a football club received illegal State aid and sets aside the judgment of the General Court (Fùtbol Club Barcelona)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 4 March 2021, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") handed down its much awaited judgment in the Fùtbol Club Barcelona ("FCB") case. It set aside the judgment of the General Court. As a result, the European Commission’s decision classifying as State aid a tax scheme that was available to four (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the various components of a tax system form an indivisible whole and the effect they produce differ (Fútbol Club Barcelona)
College of Europe (Bruges)
“Global” Assessment of Tax Schemes* It is incumbent on the Commission to carry out a global assessment of tax schemes. But it must take into account only those provisions of schemes that apply ex ante and do not depend on the circumstances of individual tax payers. Only when aid has to be (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the measures adopted by a consortium of Italian banks to support one of its members do not constitute State aid (Banca Popolare di Bari)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice dismisses the appeal brought by the Commission against the judgment of the General Court concerning the measures adopted by a consortium of Italian banks to support one of its members* The General Court rightly found that those measures do not constitute State aid because (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that Italian deposit guarantee scheme intervention in support of a bank did not constitute State aid (Banca Popolare di Bari)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
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Link Campus University (Rome)
On March 2, 2021, in dismissing the appeal brought by the European Commission against the judgment of the EU General Court in the Tercas case, the EU Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling on the standard of proof for the imputability to the State of support measures granted by private (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects the appeal brought by the Commission against the General Court’s decision concerning the measures adopted by Italian banks to support one of its members (Banca popolare di Bari)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Can the Decision of a Private Entity be Imputed to the State?* Introduction One of the trickiest aspects of determining whether a financial transaction involves State aid is its attribution or imputation to a decision of the state, especially when the entity providing the funding is private. (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects the Commission’s appeal concerning alleged aid granted to a bank and clarifies the requirements for the imputability test in the case of private entities (Banca Popolare di Bari)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 March 2021, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) confirmed the judgment of the General Court (“GC”) in Tercas (19 March 2019, Italy and Others v Commission, Joined Cases T-98/16, T-196/16 and T-198/16). The judgments on appeal and at first instance provide important guidance on (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that support measures adopted by an Italian bank consortium did not constitute State aid (Banca Popolare di Bari)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 2 March 2021, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") dismissed in its entirety the European Commission’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment regarding financial support adopted by an Italian consortium of banks for the benefit of one of its members. The General Court found correctly (...)

The EU Court of Justice states that the loan guarantee scheme put in place by Sweden to support airlines holding a Swedish operating licence amid the COVID-19 pandemic and intended to remedy the serious disturbance to the economy of that Member State is compatible with EU law (Ryanair) Free
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The loan guarantee scheme put in place by Sweden to support airlines holding a Swedish operating licence amid the Covid-19 pandemic and intended to remedy the serious disturbance to the economy of that Member State is compatible with EU law* The scheme at issue is presumed to have been adopted (...)

The EU General Court hands down two judgments dismissing an airline company’s challenges against decisions by the Commission approving French and Swedish measures to support airlines in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair) Free
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court handed down two judgments dismissing Ryanair’s challenges against decisions by the European Commission, approving French and Swedish measures to support airlines in the context of the pandemic (Cases T-238/20 and T-259/20). These judgments are the very (...)

The EU Court of Justice states that the French aid schemes adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic do not infringe competition law in the airlines market (Ryanair) Free
College of Europe (Bruges)
State Aid May be Limited to Undertakings with Close Links with the National Economy (Part II)* Introduction The European Commission acted swiftly to adopt a fairly accommodating and wide-ranging “Temporary Framework” to regulate State aid for the purposes of counter-acting the impact of (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses two actions brought by an airline company against the Commission’s approval of State aid schemes supporting airlines holding national licences during the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (London)
In May 2020, Ryanair brought two separate actions against the EC approval of a Swedish and a French State aid scheme supporting airlines holding national licences under Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and Article 107(2)(b) TFEU respectively. On 17 February 2021, the General Court dismissed Ryanair’s (...)

The EU General Court rejects actions against the Commission’s decisions on COVID-19 aid schemes in the aviation sector (Ryanair) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court delivered two important judgments concerning State aid granted by Sweden (T-238/20) and France (T-259/20), respectively, on the basis of the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak (the “Covid-19 (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the first two challenges to State aid awarded to national airlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Ryanair)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 17 February 2021, the General Court of the European Union (“General Court”) in Cases T-259/20 and T-238/20 dismissed Ryanair’s challenges to pandemic aid packages introduced in France and Sweden in order to support the domestic airline sector. The judgments are the first ones where the General (...)

The EU General Court provides guidance on the standing to challenge Commission decisions rejecting State aid complaints and the concepts of ’State resources’ and ’imputability’ with regard to decisions adopted by industry associations (Bezouaoui / HB Consultant)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 January 2021, the European General Court (“GC”) delivered a judgment providing guidance on the standing to challenge European Commission (“Commission”) decisions rejecting State aid complaints, and on the concepts of “State resources” and “imputability” within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. (...)

The EU Commission and the UK Government agree on post-Brexit State Aid law in their Trade and Cooperation Agreement
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
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White & Case (London)
State aid remained one of the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations right until the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA") on Christmas Eve 2020. One of the key priorities of the European Union ("EU") during the negotiations was to secure a "level playing field" on (...)

The EU General Court rules that the Spanish tax system applicable to certain finance lease agreements entered into by shipyards constitutes an aid scheme and that the unlawful State aid granted under that system must be recovered from the beneficiaries (Spanish Tax Lease System)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The Spanish tax system applicable to certain finance lease agreements entered into by shipyards constitutes an aid scheme* The unlawful State aid granted under that system must be recovered from the beneficiaries In 2006, the European Commission received a number of complaints concerning the (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the actions for annulment in the "Spanish tax lease" saga (Spanish tax lease system)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 September 2020, the General Court delivered another judgment in the “Spanish tax lease saga”, concerning certain aid measures granted through tax provisions applicable to agreements put in place for the financing and acquisition of vessels in Spain. This judgment follows the annulment and (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the Commission’s approval of State aid for a nuclear energy plant (Hinkley Point C)
Greenberg Traurig (Berlin)
Hinkley Point C: ECJ Confirms Commission’s Approval of Aid to Nuclear Energy Plant* Months before the prospective final Brexit, the ECJ laid what is in all likelihood the last State aid milestone on the UK’s path out of the European Union – at the same time, the ECJ’s judgment in the „Hinkley (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that the nuclear energy sector is subject to state aid rules (Hinkley Point C)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
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University of Liège
On 22 September 2020, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (‘Court’) dismissed Austria’s appeal against the General Court’s Judgment endorsing Commission Decision (EU) 2015/658 (‘the Judgment’). The Judgment was the first opportunity for the Court to rule whether the nuclear energy sector is (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the Commission decision approving UK aid for a nuclear power station (Hinkley Point C)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice confirms the Commission decision approving United Kingdom aid for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station* By decision of 8 October 2014, the European Commission approved aid which the United Kingdom is planning for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, located in Somerset, (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies some aspects of State aid related to social security contributions (Ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation / Compagnie de pêche de Saint-Malo)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 September 2020, the Court of Justice (the “ECJ” or “Court”) answered several questions raised by a request for a preliminary ruling from the French Conseil d’État, with regard to the interpretation of Commission Decision 2005/239/EC (the “Decision at issue”). This Decision concerned certain aid (...)

The EU Court of Justice declares invalid a Commission decision penalizing France for State aid (Ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation / Compagnie des pêches de Saint-Malo)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Seized with an interpretation request concerning the arrangements for implementing a Commission decision penalising France for State Aid declared incompatible with the common market, the Court of Justice rules that the decision is invalid* The Commission erred in law in considering that the (...)

The EU General Court quashes a €13 billion tax ruling fine on a multinational technology company (Apple)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
€13 billion Apple tax recovery decision quashed On 15 July 2020, the EU General Court ("GC") handed down its much awaited judgment in the Apple case. It overturned the European Commission’s ("Commission") decision ordering Ireland to recover EUR 13 billion (plus interests) in illegal State aid (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision concerning the tax rulings in favor of a Big Tech company (Apple)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 July 2020, the General Court (the “GC”) annulled the European Commission’s (the “Commission”) decision of 30 August 2016 concerning tax rulings adopted by the Irish authorities in relation to two companies forming part of the Apple Group (the “Contested Decision”). The Contested Decision found (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision regarding the Irish tax rulings in favour of a Big Tech firm (Apple)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court of the European Union annuls the decision taken by the Commission regarding the Irish tax rulings in favour of Apple* The General Court annuls the contested decision because the Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage (...)

The EU General Court strikes down the Commission’s decision ordering Ireland to recover €13 billion from a big tech company for illegal State aid (Apple)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On July 15, 2020, the European Union’s second- highest court, the General Court (the “Court”), annulled the 2016 decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) ordering Ireland to recover €13 billion (€14.3 billion with interest) in back-taxes from Apple which the Commission considered to be (...)

The EU Court of Justice reverses the General Court’s ruling and upholds the Commission’s decision according to which health insurance bodies operating under Slovak State supervision do not fall within the rules of EU law on State aid
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Court of Justice upholds the decision of the Commission according to which health insurance bodies operating under Slovak State supervision do not fall within the rules of EU law on State aid* The General Court’s judgment upholding an action brought against that decision is set aside By its (...)

The EU Court of Justice narrows down the concept of “undertaking” with regard to health insurance bodies (Dôvera zdravotná poistʼovňa)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Court of Justice of the European Union’s (the “Court of Justice”) judgment of 11 June 2020, Commission v. Dôvera zdravotná poistʼovňa is another brick in the case law concerning the concept of “undertaking” with regard to health insurance bodies. The background of the case is a Slovak compulsory (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the conditions governing the legality of an injunction issued at the same time as a decision to open a formal State aid investigation (Hungary / Commission)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 June 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice”) delivered an important judgment clarifying the conditions under which the European Commission (the “Commission”) can issue an injunction on the basis of Article 11 of the former State aid procedural Regulation No (...)

The EU General Court provides guidance on the notion of State aid under EU law following action for annulment brought by airline companies against a decision of the Commission finding an Italian aid to be illegal and incompatible with the internal market (Volotea / Germanwings / EasyJet)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 May 2020, the General Court delivered three judgments in Cases T-607/17,T-716/17,T-8/18, concerning Volotea, Germanwings and easyJet, respectively (the “Applicants”). These judgments follow actions for annulment brought by the Applicants against a decision of the Commission finding that (...)

The EU General Court reaffirms the Commission’s decision declaring illegal the aid from Italy to several airlines serving Sardinia (Volotea / Germanwings / easyJet)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court dismisses the actions against the Commission decision declaring illegal the aid from Italy to several airlines serving Sardinia* The operators of the Sardinian airports were not the beneficiaries of the aid but merely intermediaries between the Autonomous Region and the (...)

The EU Court of Justice further narrows the scope for exceptions to the recovery of interest on illegal State aid following a company receiving a credit line for the recovery of agricultural and breeding livestock activities from the Portuguese authorities (Nelson Antunes da Cunha)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 April 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice”) delivered another important judgment concerning the complex relationship between State aid and national procedural rules (Case C-627/18, Nelson Antunes da Cunha). The judgment was delivered in response to a (...)

The EU Court of Justice partially annuls a State aid granted by Greece in the context of the privatisation of a large nickel producer (Larko)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 March 2020, the Court of Justice partially annulled the judgment of the General Court concerning State aid granted by Greece in the context of the privatisation of Larko, a large nickel producer. The Court of Justice found that the ruling at first instance had wrongly applied the Private (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls the General Court’s decision which ruled that the Greek authorities should have known about the State aid public loan when there was no proof that they were aware of it (Larko)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Advantage Must be Proven, Not Assumed* Introduction When a company gets into financial trouble, public subsidies may provide a temporary respite but hardly ever a permanent solution if the company does not undertake painful restructuring. More than 10 years ago, Larko, a Greek mining (...)

The EU General Court annuls the EU Commission’s decision that a football club received over €20m in unlawful State aid (Valencia Club)
Oxera (Brussels)
The General Court has annulled the European Commission’s decision that Valencia Club de Fútbol (Valencia CF) received over €20m in unlawful state aid. Oxera undertook the financial analysis that supported Valencia CF’s appeal to the General Court, and which underpinned the annulment of the European (...)

The EU Court of Justice orders to pay a penalty of €80,000 per day for failing to fully recover incompatible State aid (Commission / Italy)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Non-recovery of Incompatible State aid Is Costly* Introduction The 2020 Temporary Framework for State aid to combat covid-19 has a much wider scope in comparison to other State aid regulations and guidelines. Normally, State aid regulations and guidelines exclude, for example, undertakings in (...)

The EU Commission decides that Italy granted unlawful State aid in favour of the hotel industry that should be recovered (Italy / Commission)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
In 2008, the European Commission decided that Italy had granted unlawful State aid in favour of the hotel industry in Sardinia. Consequently, Italy was required to recover that unlawful aid, totalling at about EUR 13.7 million. On 29 March 2012, the Court of justice upheld the arguments of the (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the appeal of financial services companies which wanted to annul a State aid (BPC Lux 2)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Bail-in Is the Responsibility of Member States* Introduction Investors in banks who lost their money have sought compensation both at EU and national level. So far, claims for damages at EU level have been unsuccessful. In some instances, the cases before EU and national courts have been (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses an appeal by the beneficiary of an aid concluding that the preferential electricity tariff constituted incompatible State aid (Mytilinaios)
College of Europe (Bruges)
A PREFERENTIAL ELECTRICITY TARIFF SELECTIVE, CONFERS AND ADVANTAGE AND DISTORTS COMPETITION* Introduction On 11 December 2019, in case C‑332/18 P, Mytilinaios Anonymos Etairia — Omilos Epicheiriseon v European Commission, the Court of Justice probably wrote the last chapter in a long-running (...)

The EU Court of Justice leaves intact the Commission’s finding that e-procurement is a service of general interest which can be commercially exploited insofar as the State does not offer the service itself (TenderNed)
University of Bristol - Law School
In its Judgment of 7 November 2019 in Aanbestedingskalender and Others v Commission, C-687/17 P, EU:C:2019:932 (the ‘TenderNed’ case), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejected the appeal against the earlier Judgment of the General Court (GC) of 28 September 2017 (T-138/15, (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission ruling on the calculation of the amount of compensation resulting from contractual obligations in the motorways sector (Autostrada Wielkopolska)
College of Europe (Bruges)
COMPENSATION TO A TOLL ROAD OPERATOR* Introduction When is a company entitled to compensation by the state? The easy answer is “when the state is liable for damage”. However, it may be possible for a company to claim compensation from the state when the state has assumed contractual (...)

The EU General Court rules on an appeal against the recovery of aid from the owner of an aid recipient in the chemical sector (Fortischem)
College of Europe (Bruges)
ECONOMIC CONTINUITY IN RECOVERY OF INCOMPATIBLE STATE AID* Introduction Companies rarely escape from the obligation to repay incompatible State aid. Over the past decade or so, very few companies have successfully argued that they legitimately expected that the aid they received was (...)

The EU General Court delivers two judgements clarifying how State aid rules apply to national tax rulings and determines whether a transfer pricing ruling in respect of intra-group transactions confers a selective advantage under the State aid rules (Fiat / Starbucks)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Baker Botts (Brussels)
On 24 September 2019, the General Court (the ‘Court’) upheld the European Commission’s (the ‘Commission’) ruling ordering Luxembourg to recover EUR 23.1 million from Fiat Chrysler Finance Europe (‘FFT’) and annulled the Commission’s ruling ordering the Netherlands to recover EUR 25.7 million from (...)

The EU General Court delivers two judgments providing guidance on the application of the arm’s length principle in the context of State aid investigations (Fiat / Starbucks)
Arendt & Medernach (London)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
THE GENERAL COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN FFT: A CRITIQUE* In its judgments on 24 September in the FFT and Starbucks cases, the EU General Court gave its first view on the European Commission’s tax ruling decisions. These decisions were novel and complex in that they sought to assess whether the tax (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s assessment that the Czech renewable energy support scheme involved State resources (FVE Holýšov I)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
In a judgment of 20 September 2019, the EU General Court (the “General Court”) upheld a 2016 decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) finding that a EUR 31 billion Czech support scheme in favour of renewable energy sources (“RES”) should be classified as State aid. The judgment (...)

The EU General Court rejects an action for annulment against a decision authorising State aid in favour of a competitor in the air transport sector (Air France / Marseille Airport)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2019, the General Court (“GC”) rejected an action for annulment brought by Air France against the European Commission (“Commission”) decision concerning State aid in favour of Marseille Provence Airport as inadmissible (Case T-894/16, Société Air France v. Commission). The judgment offers (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision for lack of jurisdiction of the Commission on the State aid matter (Micula)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
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Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION, INVESTMENT PROTECTION AND EU STATE AID RULES: THE GENERAL COURT OF THE EU ANNULS THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S STATE AID DECISION IN THE MICULA CASE In a long-awaited ruling of June 18, 2019, the General Court of the European Union (“GCEU”) annulled the European (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction to implement relevant law in a situation where all relevant facts have taken place before Romania’s accession to the EU (Micula)
DG ENERGY (Luxembourg)
The Micula case has been used by the opponents of investment treaty arbitration to argue that such arbitration circumvents and breaches EU State aid law. The Micula case was initially about the judicial review of the withdrawal of individual incentives granted to the investor and withdrawn by (...)

The EU General Court annuls a State aid decision from the Commission concerning the food production sector in Romania (Micula)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 June 2019, the General Court of the European Union (the “General Court”) handed down its long-awaited judgment in the Micula case (Cases T-624/15, T-694/15 and T-704/15, European Food and Others v Commission, EU:T:2019:423). The case finds its origins in the investment made by the Miculas, (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision ordering Spain to recover €18 million of incompatible State aid (Real Madrid)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 22 May 2019, the General Court rendered its judgment on the action for annulment filed by Real Madrid against the Commission Decision of 4 July 2018 that (i) declared that the football club had been granted incompatible State aid worth EUR 18 million; and (ii) ordered Spain to recover this (...)

The EU General Court holds that the Commission was wrong to classify as State aid a progressive tax on the retail sector involving a high starting threshold (Polish tax on the retail sector)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The EU’s General Court has rejected the EU Commission’s classification of a Polish tax on the retail sector as State aid: Poland v Commission (Joined Cases T-836/16 and T-624/17). The fact that the tax was progressive in nature with a high threshold was not sufficient to meet the requirement that (...)

The French State Council concludes that three taxes assigned to an undertaking in the audiovisual and multimedia sector cannot be regarded as an integral part of an aid scheme on the basis that they represent a growing share of revenue which is not considered as having directly influenced the amount of aid granted (National Center for Cinema & Moving Image)
France Télévisions (Paris)
The junction between the financing of cinema and audiovisual media and State aid law is at the origin of a case which, initially supposed to revolve around the notion of "alteration to existing aid", has come, after a contentious detour, to clarify what constitutes a tax measure hypothecated to (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that funds generated by the EGG surcharges do not constitute State resources (EEG surcharge)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
On Thursday, 28 March, the European Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) annulled the General Court’s ruling and the European Commission’s decision on the EEG 2012 on the grounds that it was wrong to conclude that the funds generated by the EEG surcharge constituted State resources. In (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision concerning a Spanish tax regime (Athletic Club)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In 2016, the Commission adopted a decision declaring that four Spanish professional football clubs (i.e., Fútbol Club Barcelona, Club Atlético Osasuna, Athletic Club and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol) had received incompatible state aid in the form of corporate tax privileges. As a consequence, Spain (...)

The EU Court of Justice and the General Court render two judgments on State aid showing how the Courts approach a judicial review of complex economic assessments when the burden of proof is on the Commission (Frucona Kosice / Fútbol Club Barcelona)
Garrigues (Brussels)
EU Judicial Review: Major Antitrust Implications of Recent State Aid Cases* We competition lawyers often wrongly approach our discipline in isolation from the wider context in which it is applied. This is also true when it comes to judicial review. We tend to forget that antitrust is only a (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision regarding Belgian excess profits tax ruling system (Magnetrol International)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
In a Decision of 11 January 2016, the European Commission declared the Belgian excess profit scheme, pursuant to which Belgium granted advance tax rulings authorising Belgian entities which were part of multinational groups to exempt part of their profits from corporate income taxation, (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision on Belgian express profit rulings (Magnetrol International)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 14 February 2019, the EU General Court annulled the European Commission’s ("EC") State aid decision of 11 January 2016 on Belgian excess profit rulings ("EPR"). Unlike most State tax aid cases, the Belgian EPR case is not about individual aid but about an aid scheme as defined in Article (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission decision that the Belgian excess profit tax exemption constitutes State aid (Magnetrol International)
University of Oxford
THE BELGIAN EXCESS PROFITS CASE – A STATE AID ANTICLIMAX* Lawyers across Europe holding their breath while awaiting the General Court’s ruling on the Belgian Excess Profits case were doubtlessly disappointed. On Valentine’s Day, the General Court reminded the European Commission that “tough love” (...)

The EU General Court overturns the Commission’s finding that Belgium granted unlawful State aid through advance tax rulings (Magnetrol International)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Many Tax Rulings Do Not Make a Single Aid Scheme* The autonomy that Member States enjoy in the field of direct taxation must be exercised in compliance with EU State aid law. A State aid measure is considered to be a “scheme” when (a) no further implementing acts are necessary, (b) the granting (...)

The EU General Court delivers its first judgment on State aid through tax rulings by annulling the Commission’s decision on the Belgian excess profit ruling system (Magnetrol International)
Clifford Chance (Brussels)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 14 February 2019, the EU General Court annulled the European Commission’s State aid decision relating to the Belgian excess profit ruling system. The General (...)

The EU General Court points out the methodological weakness of the Commission analysis in a State aid case (Magnetrol International)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
Apart from the first plea alleging infringement of the exclusive competence of Member States in the field of direct taxation, which would preclude the Commission’s control of State aid, and which was dismissed by the General Court (“GC”), the object of the judgment delivered was technical. It (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission decision which classified Belgium’s "excess profit" tax scheme as State aid (Magnetrol International)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 February 2019, the General Court (“GC”) issued a judgment annulling the decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) concerning the Belgian “excess profit” tax rulings (Joined Cases T-131/16 and T-263/16, Belgium and Magnetrol International v. Commission). Under Belgian law, Belgian (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission decision holding that public funding to an operator in a closed sector does not affect trade and therefore does not constitute State aid (Scandlines Danmark) (Stena Line)
College of Europe (Bruges)
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 (...)

The EU General Court holds that public funds managed by private airports operators can be classified as state resources (Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The Private Investor Principle in Air Transport - Part I* The Private Investor Principle in Air Transport - Part II* Public funds managed by private airport operators can be classified as state resources. Prices charged by airport operators can be used as a benchmark for market prices only if (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission decision which found that Slovakia did not grant incompatible state aid to a chemical company (AlzChem)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Pari Passu Is not Static* When comparing the behaviour of public and private creditors, it is necessary to ensure that their situations and interests do not diverge over time. Introduction When an undertaking owes money to a public authority the latter must use all available legal means to (...)

The EU Court of Justice puts an end to proceedings concerning a measure of support for the development of digital television in a region of Spain (Cellnex)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
By judgment on April 26, 2018, the Court of Justice put an end to proceedings concerning a measure of support for the development of digital television in a region of Spain with a low level of urbanisation. As a result of this judgment, the development in question cannot be considered a SGEI (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a Commission decision due to the lack of motivation in the assessment of the selectivity criteria in the determination of the compatibility of an aid (Comunidad Autónoma de Galicia and Retagal)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
* Article published on StateAidHub.eu Blog (click here), republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author(s). The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of Justice reminds that the Commission must establish the condition of selectivity of the advantage which is assessed legally and factually in State aid litigation (Comunidad Autónoma de Galicia / Retegal)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The case concern a series of measures implemented by the Spanish authorities in relation to the switch-over from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting throughout Spain. The Spanish authorities divided the Spanish territory into three separate areas: “Area I”, “Area II” and “Area III”. Area (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls three General Court Judgments regarding State aid for a television broadcaster (TV2 / Danmark)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 November 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) issued its judgments on appeal in three cases: Case C-656/15 P, European Commission v TV2/Danmark, Case C-657/15 P, Viasat Broadcasting UK v TV2/Danmark and Case 649/15 P, TV2/Danmark v European Commission. All three (...)

The EU General Court confirms that public funding of an e-platform for procurement purposes does not constitute a State aid (Aanbestedingskalender)
College of Europe (Bruges)
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 (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the General Court judgment annulling the Commission’s decision considering that public support statements and credit line offer constituted incompatible State aids by applying the test of the prudent private investor (Orange)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 November 2016, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) issued its second judgment in the case concerning public statements made by the French authorities in support of France Télécom (“FT” – now Orange) and the offering of a shareholder loan to FT. In 2002, FT, a public limited company, was (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s decision finding that aid measures targeting consumers with particular needs not adequately provided by the market do not unduly distort competition (Hamr / Sport)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Sport Facilities, the Balancing Test and Distortion of Competition* Aid measures that target persons with particular needs and who are not adequately provided by the market are not likely to be found to distort competition contrary to the common interest, even if there is some substitutability (...)

The EU General Court hands down a judgment in a case regarding a German law on renewable energy and clarifies the notion of State resources (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 May 2016, the General Court of the European Union (“Court”) handed down a judgment in a case concerning the German law on renewable energy of 2012 (the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz 2012 - “EEG 2012”) (case T-47/15, Germany vs. Commission). The EEG 2012, which was replaced by a new law in (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission’s decision finding a Spanish tax illegal (Spanish Tax Lease System)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 December 2015, the General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgment in joined cases T-515/13, Spain v Commission and T-719/13, Lico Leasing SA and Pequeños y Medianos Astilleros Sociedad de Reconversión SA v Commission annulling a 2013 European Commission decision which had found that the (...)

The EU General Court overturns a Commission finding that a Spanish tax lease system is illegal State aid (Spanish tax lease system)
College of Europe (Bruges)
An Exception Is Not Necessarily Selective: The Case of the Spanish Tax Lease* An exception from a tax system is not selective if it is a priori open to any tax payer. Checks by tax authorities to ensure that a measure is applied correctly do not constitute exercise of administrative discretion (...)

The EU General Court annuls Commission’s decision finding Spain’s tax lease system to constitute illegal State aid (Spanish Tax Lease)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Spanish tax lease case: Identifying the beneficiary under the selectivity test in Fiscal aid schemes*In its judgment of 17 December 2015, Spain a.o./Commission the General Court once again annulled a Commission decision dealing with a fiscal State aid scheme on the grounds that the (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision declaring the Spanish tax lease system to constitute illegal State aid (Spanish Tax Lease)
Linklaters (Madrid)
1. Introduction On July 2011 the Commission launched an investigation into a Spanish scheme for the purchase of ships involving leasing and financing through tax relief. The complex scheme granted company income tax discounts to investors that invested in an Economic Interest Grouping (“EIG”) (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the temporal scope of secondary instruments applied to assess the compatibility of a State aid (Jørgen Andersen)
Maastricht University
Case C-303/13 P European Commission v Jørgen Andersen* In this post I will analyse a particular aspect of State aid law: the temporal scope of secondary instruments applied to assess the aid’s compatibility. The case at hand deals in particular with Regulation (EEC) 1191/69, which originally (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission State aid decision relating to public statements and shareholder loan to a telecommunications company (France Télécom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In its judgement handed down on 2 July 2015, the General Court (“GC”) annulled for the second time the EU Commission’s state aid decision relating to public statements made by the French authorities in support of France Télécom (“FT”) and to the offering of a shareholder loan to FT. The alleged state (...)

The EU General Court rules again on whether public pronouncements confer an advantage to undertakings (France Télécom)
College of Europe (Bruges)
When Do Public Pronouncements Confer an Advantage to Undertakings?* Public pronouncements can confer an advantage if they are sufficiently precise and clearly commit a public authority to support an undertaking. Introduction Politicians often claim that they would never allow important (...)

The EU General Court reminds Member States that individual awards of de minimis aid must remain below the relevant threshold as well as the sum of all individual awards in any three-year period (Italy)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The Use and Abuse of De Minimis Aid & State Resources* Individual awards of de minimis aid must remain below the relevant threshold as well as the sum of all individual awards in any three-year period. Introduction This article reviews a case that, among other things, deal with the use (...)

The UK High Court rules whether statutory licence granted to the tech industry could be aid through state resources (British Academy of songwriters, composers and authors)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Of Megabytes and Men: the private use exception under the judicial lens and lessons for state aid claims* On 19 June 2015, the High Court allowed a claim for judicial review against the decision to introduce a narrow ‘private copying’ exception to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that levying charges to maintain equal treatment is not necessarily selective (MOL Magyar Olaj)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Levying of Charges to Maintain Equal Treatment Is Not Necessarily Selective* The standard of proof of whether a measure is selective depends on whether that measure is a scheme or a grant of individual aid. Measures providing for exemption are by definition selective. Measures that impose (...)

The EU Court of Justice implicitly rejects the General Court’s views on subjective assessment of two-part State aid measures under Art 107(1) TFEU (MOL Magyar Olaj)
University of Bristol - Law School
CJEU implicitly rejects GC’s views on subjective assessment of two-part State aid measures under Art 107(1) TFEU (C-15/14)* In its Judgment in Commission v MOL, C-15/14, EU:C:2015:362, the CJEU upheld the previous Judgment of the GC where the selectivity of two-part State aid measures was (...)

The EU Court of Justice and General Court explain how to determine whether state guarantees constitute State aid and how much aid is involved (Banco Privado Português)
College of Europe (Bruges)
State Guarantees* The amount of State aid in a guarantee that makes possible the granting of a loan to a well-collateralised firm in difficulty is not the difference in premium but the difference in interest rates. Beneficiaries of guarantees not notified to the Commission do not have any (...)

The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court rules that the obligation of the Finnish authorities to order recovery of unlawful aid was not affected by the court-confirmed restructuring programme (Osuuskunta Karjaportti)
University of Helsinki
The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court has decided on a complaint concerning the legality of decisions by a Finnish city (the city of Mikkeli) and, later, the Administrative Court of Kuopio . The decisions related to recovery of state aid which had been declared unlawful by the European (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission decision holding that the Greek scheme of exclusive rights for lottery did not contain State Aid (Club Hotel Loutraki)
European University Institute (Florence)
In Brief: Case T-58/13, Club Hotel Loutraki AE and Others v Commission (judgment of 08.01.2015)* On Thursday the 8th January the GC dismissed all four pleas in the action for annulment of the Commission Decision finding that the exclusive rights granted to operate 35 000 Video Lottery (...)

The Czech Supreme Court confirms the duty of national courts to enforce EU State aid rules (NH Hospital / Central Bohemian Region)
Skils (Prague)
On 25 June 2014, the Supreme Court cancelled preceding decisions by the High Court in Prague (Ref. No. 3 Cmo 289/2011-142 of 29 December 2011) and by the Municipal Court in Prague (Ref. No. 32 Cm 128/2010-131 of 13 June 2011) and remanded the case back for further proceedings before the (...)

The EU General Court dismisses an action for annulment brought by a competitor against a Commission decision finding no state aid in relation to licensing of software terms offered by a university (Scheepsbouwkundig Advies / en Rekencentrum)
University of Bristol - Law School
State aid and (university) software licensing: who’s interested? (T-488/11)* In its Judgment of 12 June 2014 in case Sarc v Commission, T-488/11, EU:T:2014:441, the General Court of the EU (GC) has assessed an interesting case concerned with the licensing of software developed at a Dutch (...)

The EU General Court rules that the context in which an administrative decision is adopted may reduce the burden of motivation imposed on an institution (ABN Amro)
University of Bristol - Law School
GC hints at a reduction of the burden of motivation of administrative decisions under EU law (T-319/11)* In its Judgment of 8 April 2014 in case T-319/11 ABN Amro Group v Commission, the General Court has indicated that the context in which an administrative decision is adopted may reduce the (...)

The EU General Court confirms that the Commission has a large margin of discretion in determining the compatibility of restructuring aid (ABN Amro)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog (click here), republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Wathelet finds that the effectiveness of state aid rules would be significantly impaired if Member States could use the protection of brand image as an economic rationality argument (SNCM)
University of Bristol - Law School
"National brands" and State aid: AG Wathelet on investing in "State branding" (C-533 & 536/12)* In his Opinion of 15 January 2014 in joined cases C-533/12 P and C-536/12 P SNCM v Corsica Ferries France, Advocate General Wathelet has addressed an interesting (and creative) argument (...)

The EU Court of Justice reinforces the Plaumann test and re-emphasizes the role attributed to the national courts within the framework of the preliminary ruling procedure to ensure judicial review of the legality of EU acts (Telefónica)
University of Bristol - Law School
What’s left of the ’new limb’ of Art 263(4) TFEU after Inuit and Telefonica? (C-274/12 P)* In its Judgment of 19 December in case C-274/12 P Telefonica v Commission, the CJEU has continued to define (and minimise) the scope of Article 263(4) TFEU and, particularly, the ’new’ third limb introduced (...)

The EU Court of Justice examines the concept of state attributability in relation to a fiscal exemption previously approved by the Council (Eurallumina)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The Possibly Conflicting Roles of EU Institutions on State Aid* Introduction On 10 December 2013, the Court of Justice, in C‑272/12 P, wrote another chapter in the long-running case of the exemption from excise taxes for alumina producers in France, Ireland and Italy. This is not the last (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the matter of non-notified State aid subject to a formal examination procedure initiated by the Commission and the measures to be adopted by the national courts hearing an application for cessation or recovery (Deutsche Lufthansa / Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Non-notified State Aid and the Role of National Courts [C 284/12, Deutsche Lufthansa v Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn]* Introduction What prevents a Member State from granting State aid without first notifying it to the European Commission? Cynics would answer “nothing, in fact”. Indeed, nothing can (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that national courts must assume that a measure qualifies as State aid if the Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into that measure (Lufthansa / Flughafen Frankfurt Hahn)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
EU NATIONAL COURTS MAY HAVE TO ORDER RECOVERY OF STATE AID BEFORE EUROPEAN COMMISSION MAKES FINALE DECISION* The European Court of Justice decided on 21 November 2013 that EU national courts must assume that a measure qualifies as State aid, if the European Commission has opened an in-depth (...)

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