Volume 50 (2013) / Issue 6
The article looks at the definition of State aid, in the light of recent case law of the EU Courts. There are claims that this case law shows serious shortcomings, is too complex, and reveals a rift between the General Court and the ECJ. In particular the interpretation of the substantive elements forming the notion of aid such 'granted by the state or through state resources' and 'selectivity' is far from clear. The question arises whether State aid control is then possible at all, given the underlying political objectives. Despite some shortcomings the Courts are somehow still managing to maintain a formal approach, in order to meet predictability requirements and legal certainty and at the same allowing a certain degree of flexibility. The case law reaffirms that the interpretation of the notion of aid still aims to preserve free movement and fair competition between States, and to ensure that Member States comply with EU law in terms of transparent economic governance. The efforts by the Courts and the European Institutions, in particular the Commission, in developing consensual rules on policy may still be the best we have so far.
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