The European Antitrust Review 2014

State Aid

European State Aid: New Developments in Jurisprudence and State Aid Modernisation In the past year, EU state aid control in many ways changed from ‘crisis mode’ to ‘normal mode’, although certain crisis measures are still in play. The Commission in particular adopted crisis-related measures or prolonged existing aids for European banks (eg, for the Austrian bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria). Despite the ongoing work related to the financial and economic crisis, the Commission focused on the State Aid Modernisation Initiative (SAM) as a series of reforms taking the procedural parts of state aid law into account. Although overdue and originally planned for 2009, the financial and economic crisis forced the Commission to freeze any plans for a comprehensive state aid law reform. In 2012, with most anti-crisis measures in place and some already expiring, the Commission put SAM on the agenda. Irrespective of those Commission reform activities, European courts have recently taken a number of important decisions in the field of state aid rules. This article outlines highlights of such jurisdiction as well as Commission decisions and activities related thereto. Moreover, it provides an overview on the current status on recent Commission activities for a modernisation of the EU state aid law.

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