Welcome to the UKSALA blog

First of all, welcome to the UKSALA blog! We are just getting this site up and running, so please bear with us as resources as well as bits and pieces of functionality are added over the next months. In the long term, it is hoped that this site (and this blog in particular) will provide a useful source of information for those interested in State aid in the UK, bringing together not only EU resources but also UK specific commentary. This will only happen, however, if UKSALA subscribers contribute actively, so please do send us anything that you think would be of interest, either for the blog or the resources page.

For this first posting, the hot State aid topic at the moment seems to be SGEIs. On 15 February the Commission adopted a new version of its SGEI Guide (the snappy official title is “Guide to the application of the European Union rules on state aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general interest”). This is a very detailed document that provides a useful resource for anyone seeking to apply either the Altmark conditions or Article 106(2). In particular, it contains extensive references to the case-law and decisional practice of the Commission, as well as case studies. There is also helpful commentary on some of the more general criteria for the application of Article 107(1), such as several pages of discussion and examples concerning the application of the effect on inter-State trade test (something that seems to have vexed Burton J in Eventech v Parking Adjudicator, on which more anon).

Continuing the SGEI theme, some subscribers will remember the judgment of the General Court in Case T-289/03 BUPA v Commission [2008] ECR II-81, which (in my entirely unbiased capacity as BUPA’s counsel) I have always regarded as setting out a very dubious approach to the Altmark test. It was with some interest, therefore, that I noted the latest instalment in the saga of the State aid analysis of the Irish RES. On 20 February the Commission adopted its decision on the new RES scheme that is the successor to the scheme at issue in the BUPA case: see Press release IP/13/132. Noticeably, the Commission does consider the RES to give rise to State aid, but has approved it under Article 106(2). The full text of the decision will eventually be available on the Commission’s State aid register under Case SA.34515.

Finally, can anyone tell me why the said State aid register does not give links to the press releases in respect of the decisions? It might come in handy when the only version of a decision published on the register is in Polish. Google translate is wonderful, but it does have limitations …



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