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The EU Court of Justice defines the ‘reasonable period’ by which the Commission’s preliminary examination of a State aid measure must be concluded (Gebrüder Lorenz)

On 11 December 1973, the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) ruled on a preliminary question in Gebrüder Lorenz v. Federal Republic of Germany (C-120/73). The main question at hand concerned the length of the European Commission’s (‘EC’) period of consideration and examination of a notified aid measure. This consideration is linked to the obligation of the Member State to not put the aid measure into effect until a decision has been taken on its compatibility, also referred to as the ‘standstill obligation’. In Lorenz, the referring court was faced with the question how long this standstill obligation subsists, what is meant by a ‘reasonable period’ in which the EC must take a decision and what the legal effects are for the potential beneficiaries in case no decision is taken in reasonable

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