For those interested in issues concerning the interaction of national courts and the Commission in the State aid enforcement process, yesterday’s opinion from AG Mengozzi in Case C-284/12 provides some food for thought. Unfortunately, it is not yet available in English (the link above will take you to the French version). We will post up a detailed summary of the opinion on this blog next week.
In the meantime, and on a completely unrelated subject, the UKSALA blogger would be interested for any insights into the period of validity and application of the current GBER if (as currently seems likely) the new GBER does not come into force until 1 July 2014. The current GBER applies until 31 December 2013. Article 44(3) of the GBER provides that at the end of that period, aid schemes exempted under the GBER will remain exempted for a transitional period of 6 months, with the exception of regional aid schemes. Regional aid schemes will expire at the date of expiry of the relevant regional aid maps. With the entry into force of the new RAG on 1 July 2014, Member States are being encouraged to notify extensions to their aid maps so as to ensure continuity of (inter alia) the exemptions for regional aid. That will fix, at least, the issue of the validity of aid schemes, including regional aid schemes, already exempted under the GBER. But what is the position for new aid schemes once the current GBER has expired? On its face, until the new GBER takes effect, they will not be exempted (unless they can fall under one of the other block exemptions such as the various de minimis Regs). Is anyone aware of a solution to this apparent lacuna?