DOCTRINE - ARTICLE 296 CE - SECTEUR DE LA DEFENSE - MARCHE DE L’EQUIPEMENT DE DEFENSE - INTERPRETATION - INEFFICACITES - APPLICATION DES REGLES RELATIVES AUX AIDES D’ÉTAT - PRATIQUE DE LA COMMISSION - APPROCHE DE LA COUR - ARRET FIOCCHI MUNIZIONE (T-26/01) - DEVELOPPEMENTS FUTURS

State aid control and the defence exception

L’article 296 du traité prévoit un régime spécifique pour le marché de l’équipement de défense. A travers une interprétation large de cette disposition, les États Membres ont de facto largement tenu éloigné le secteur de la défense du marché intérieur. Récemment, les inefficacités du marché de l’équipement de défense ont été soulevées. La présente contribution analyse l’application des règles relatives aux aides d’État dans le secteur de la défense. Elle décrit d’abord la pratique de la Commission dans ce secteur, puis examine l’approche de la Cour dans le jugement Fiocchi Munizioni (T-26/01) et enfin, tente de tirer certaines conclusions sur des développements futurs.

1. INTRODUCTION 1. Defence markets represent certain specific features which set them apart from other sectors - first and foremost, because of the very nature of the products, which are often very sensitive and connected with sovereignty and national security. 2. Also from an economic point there are certain particularities: «They [i.e. defence equipment markets] are, however, dominated by governments which are often the major or sole buyer of defence equipment. As a single buyer or monopsonist, a government can determine technical progress through its choice of equipment; it can also determine the size of its domestic defence industry, its structure, entry and exit, ownership, prices, profits, efficiency and export sales. Often such purchasing power is used as an instrument of

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Koen Van de Casteele, State aid control and the defence exception, September 2007, Concurrences N° 3-2007, Art. N° 13810, pp. 66-71

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