The financing for public services in France 10 years after the Altmark case

For the last ten years, quite often successfully, France has used the Altmark decision, which allows Member States to finance SGEIs without a prior notification to the European Commission, under certain conditions, in order to implement financing schemes for SGEIs compatible with European Stade aid law (e.g. financing of broadband and high-speed broadband). In some cases, even if the financing schemes had probably not been conceived with Altmark in mind, France tried to defend them on this basis with varying degrees of success (approval of the Conseil d’Etat in the Notre-Dame-des-Landes case, recovery order of the incompatible illegal aid in the SNCM case). Thus, the Commission sometimes refused to recognize as SGEIs services which France defined as such or considered that the award criteria of the mission could not ensure that the Altmark conditions were fulfilled regarding the calculation of the compensation. Also, there are many cases in which the financing of SGEIs in France or of activities which could qualify as SGEIs was analysed outside the Altmark framework without affecting the financing of these activities (e.g. the National broadband Program). However, in yet other cases, one may regret that France did not try to devise the financing of an activity which might have qualified as a SGEIs on the basis of the Altmark decision (e.g. the financing of renewable energy).

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. Ten years ago, the Altmark [1] judgment brought to a close the saga of the financing of public services under European law, proposing a complex tool for Member States to finance their public services in compliance with the rules of European State aid law. 2. Previously, the European Court of Justice had hesitated between greater freedom for States in the financing of their services of general economic interest ("SGEI") through the "compensatory approach" and a stricter framework by the European Commission for the financing of these services through the "state aid approach" [2]. According to the first approach, compensation granted to an undertaking for

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers

Already Subscribed? Sign-in

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers.

Read one article for free

Sign-up to read this article for free and discover our services.


PDF Version



Caroline Medina, The financing for public services in France 10 years after the Altmark case, February 2014, Concurrences N° 1-2014, Art. N° 62177,

Visites 780

All reviews