ARTICLE: Rationale of European State aid policy - Protection of competition - Achievement of internal market - Policy objectives Art. 3 EC - Consumer welfare - Economic analysis - Objective of less but better targeted State aid - Balance between distortion of competition and positive effects - Political objectives

State Aid Policy: Better economic analysis for the general interest

Contrary to antitrust rules, the rationale of European State aid rules is not limited to the protection of competition between companies, but also covers the achievement of internal market and other policy objectives mentioned in Article 3 of the treaty. In this context, the criteria of the consumer welfare used in the field of antitrust cannot be applied in the same conditions in the State aid area. It is nevertheless necessary to improve the economic analysis in this area, to contribute to the general objective of less but better targeted State aid. A refined economic analysis should particularly help making the right balance between, on the one hand, the distortion of competition, and on the other hand the positive effects of the aid, without ignoring the fact that political objectives have also to be taken into consideration.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. Referring to the experts who met in Val Duchesse to draft the future Treaty of Rome, Jean Monnet wrote: "In Brussels, the experts were making progress in the drafting of meticulous texts, full of precautions and daring at the same time, both of which were to prove very effective, as their authors intended, according to the use that men would make of them" [1]. 2. The competition provisions of the EC Treaty clearly belong to this category of "careful and bold" texts. These texts were bold in the economic and political context of the 1950s, particularly as regards the state aid provisions. While in the 1950s it was widely accepted that strict competition

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Authors

  • DG COMP (Brussels)
  • European Commission (Brussels)

Quotation

Thibaut Kleiner, Alain Alexis, State Aid Policy: Better economic analysis for the general interest, December 2005, Concurrences N° 4-2005, Art. N° 457, pp. 45-52.

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