State Aids and European Community Law

This article provides an overview of EC State aid rules, focusing on recent Commission policy and recent judgments of the Court of Justice on State aids. In Part I, some general points, such as what may constitute a State aid, are considered. In Part II, the procedural aspects are dealt with in more detail, with emphasis on the notification process, and the procedure for reviewing State aids. Part III examines the recovery of illegally granted aids, and the defenses a beneficiary may assert. Next, Part IV sets out the remedies available for breach of the State aid rules, including the right to contest the Commission’s decisions. The article concludes by pointing out the shortcomings of the present procedures and suggesting changes that could improve the procedures, especially from the perspective of outside investors unfamiliar with the EC rules.