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08 October 2019
While the understanding of European Commission state aid powers has increased significantly in recent years following high-profile EU decisions and court appeals, the role of national courts remains unclear, particularly in actions to recover state aid following an EU decision. This article discusses a recent EU study which sheds light on the role of the national courts in state aid cases.
The European Commission's study identifies emerging trends and best practices regarding national courts' enforcement of state aid law across the European Union.
In relation to the recovery of state aid, the study identifies the following as best practices by the national courts:
In terms of trends, the study highlights that national courts rarely conclude that unlawful state aid has been granted (by their national authorities) and hence have rarely awarded remedies in favour of complainants that allege that state aid has been granted. This trend is particularly evident in relation to damages claims. Specifically, in less than 1% of the private enforcement cases identified in the study did a national court award compensation for a member state's breach of the state aid law standstill obligation.(1)
For further information on this topic please contact Kate McKenna or Helen Kelly at Matheson by telephone (+353 1 232 2000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Matheson website can be accessed at www.matheson.com.
(1) For information on the European Commission's recovery notice please see "European Commission issues notice on recovery of unlawful and incompatible state aid" and for information on Irish court rulings which elucidate the role of national courts in state aid cases please see "Recent rulings on state aid".
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