Volume 26 (2003) / Issue 2
The European Union faces a problem of uneven implementation of its rules by national authorities. Agreement on common rules at the Community level does not necessarily translate into commitment by national authorities to apply those rules coherently and effectively. In this context, decentralisation of the existing system of State aid control is hardly considered. The issue, however, is not whether it should be decentralised or not but by how much. Theory and practice suggest that complete decentralisation of State aid control would be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, as the European Union enlarges, as State aid policy becomes more codified, as State aid concepts become clarified by the courts and as State aid rules are modernised to take into account conditions in local markets, the case for some decentralisation becomes stronger. Some decentralisation will also create incentives for compliance with Community rules and reduction of State aid granted for political gains. This article analyses the various aspects of the problem and proposes a feasible division of tasks between the Commission and national State aid authorities.
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