Key developments in State aid law

In addition to the revised General Block Exemption Regulation, the European Commission has adopted various new guidelines as part of its State aid modernisation programme.

Another major innovation of the last 12 months is the notice on State aid, which is due to be adopted formally at the beginning of 2015.

In terms of case law, the developments in the last 12 months are an evolution rather than a revolution but with some interesting and elucidating rulings on aspects of the notion of State aid and its enforcement.

Following a previous contribution in this Journal, this survey covers the main developments in European State aid law over the last 12 months. Given the large number of developments over the last 12 months, the description below is necessarily selective as it was impossible to cover all developments in detail.

The first part of this survey focuses on the main new legislation and guidance prepared by the European Commission in 2014 as part of its State aid modernisation programme. This programme aims (i) to foster growth in a strengthened dynamic and competitive internal market; (ii) to focus enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market; and (iii) to streamline rules and enable faster decisions.

The second part of this survey discusses some of the most interesting judgments rendered by the European Courts during the period covered. These concern mostly judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) but also a judgment of the General Court. Again, the judgments covered are necessarily a selection of the output of the last year but, as will be shown, the selection below concerns some of the most fundamental notions underpinning State aid enforcement in Europe.

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