State Aid (Competition Law, State Aid Law) [Ro.: ajutor de stat, De.: staatliche Beihilfe, Fr.: aide d'État, It.: aiuto di stato] (See also: internal market, horizontal agreement, vertical agreement, relevant market, anticompetitive behaviour, concerted practice, cartel, undertaking) = refers to forms of public assistance, using resources funded by taxpayers that are awarded to undertakings on a discretionary basis, with the potential to distort competition and affect trade between member states of the EU. In most cases, due to its anticompetitive effects, State Aid is banned (e.g. a sustainable undertaking might suffer heavy losses and even be put out of business because of the state subsidies that are awarded to its competitors in an unfair manner). Nonetheless, some State Aid schemes are allowed, considering the fact that the negative effects are balanced by the positive ones (e.g. promoting Research & Development in certain key industries).


Useful Links:

Legislation – The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, Article 107 [All official EU languages] – The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, Article 108 [All official EU languages] – The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, Article 109 [All official EU languages] – Commission Notice on the notion of State aid as referred to in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [All official EU languages] – Law 21/1996 regarding Competition in Romania [Romanian] – Emergency Ordinance 77/2014 regarding the national procedures in the field of state aid, Romania [Romanian]


Organisations and associations – European Commission – Directorate-General for Competition [European Union] – In House Competition Lawyers’ Association – International League of Competition Law (LIDC) – International Competition Network (ICN) – Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA) – European Competition Network (ECN) – Austrian Competition Authority [Austria] – Belgian Competition Authority [Belgium] – British Competition Authority [United Kingdom] – Danish Competition Authority [Denmark] – Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority [Finland] – French Competition Authority [France] – German Competition Authority [Germany] – Hellenic Competition Authority [Greece] – Italian Competition Authority [Italy] – Hungarian Competition Authority [Hungary] – Competition Authority of Luxembourg [Luxembourg] – Dutch Competition Authority [Netherlands] – Polish Competition Authority [Poland] – Portuguese Competition Authority [Portugal] – Romanian Competition Authority [Romania] – Spanish Competition Authority [Spain] – Swedish Competition Authority [Sweden] – American Antitrust Division from the Department of Justice [United States of America] – American Antitrust Institute [United States of America]


Case Law – ECJ, Joined Cases 15 and 16/76, France v. Commission, 1979. – ECJ, Case 730/79, Philip Morris v. Commission, 1980. – ECJ, Case 52/84, Commission v. Belgium, 1986. – ECJ, Case 102/87, France v. Commission, 1988. – ECJ, Case C-303/88, Italy v. Commission, 1991. – ECJ, Joined Cases C-6/90 and C-9/90, Francovich v. Italy, 1991. – ECJ, Case C-354/90, FNCEPA v. France, 1991. – ECJ, Case C-39/94, Syndicat français de l'Express international (SFEI) and others v. La Poste and others, 1995. – ECJ, Case C-39/94, SFEI and Others, 1996. – ECJ, Case C-24/95, Land Rheinland-Pfalz v. Alcan Deutschland GmbH, 1997. – ECJ, Case C-280/95, Commission v. Italy, 1998. – ECJ, Case C-342/96, Spain v. Commission, 1999. – ECJ, Joined cases T-298/97, T-312/97, T-313/97, T-315/97, T-600/97 to 607/97, T-1/98, T-3/98 to T-6/98 and T-23/98, Alzetta Mauro and others v. Commission, 2000. – ECJ, Case T-296/97, Alitalia – Linee aeree italiane SpA v. Commission, 2000. – ECJ, Case C-482/99, France v. Commission, 2002. – ECJ, Cases C-328/99 and C-399/00, Italy and SIM 2 Multimedia v. Commission, 2003. – ECJ, Case C-404/00, Commission v. Spain, 2003. – ECJ, Case C-280/00, Altmark Trans GmbH and Regierungspräsidium Magdeburg v. Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Altmark GmbH, and Oberbundesanwalt beim Bundesverwaltungsgericht, 2003. – ECJ, Joined Cases C-261/01 and C-262/01, Belgische Staat v Eugène van Calster and Felix Cleeren (C-261/01) and Openbaar Slachthuis NV (C-262/01), 2003. – ECJ, Case C-368/04, Transalpine Ölleitung in Österreich GmbH and Others v. Finanzlandesdirektion für Tirol and Others, 2006. – ECJ, Case T-387/04, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg v. Commission, 2007. – ECJ, Case C-199/06, CELF v. SIDE, 2008. – ECJ, Joined cases T-254/00, T-270/00 and T-277/00, Hotel Cipriani SpA and Others v. Commission, 2008. – ECJ, Case C-295/07 P, Commission v. Départment du Loiret and Scott, 2008. – ECJ, Case C-384/07, Wienstrom, 2008. – ECJ, Case T-189/08, Forum 187 ASBL v. Commission, 2010. – ECJ, Cases T-267/08 and T-279/08, Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais v. Commission, 2011.


Online Publications – Gerard, D.M.B., 2008, Managing the Financial Crisis in Europe: Why Competition Law is Part of the Solution, Not of the Problem, Global Competition Review, December 2008 [English]. – Mateus, A.M., 2009, The Current Financial Crisis and State Aid in the EU, European Competition Journal, 2009 [English]. – Mason, R., 2017, Tax Rulings as State Aid FAQ, Tax Notes, Vol. 154, 2017; Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2017-16 [English].



Bellamy and Child, 2008, European Community Law of Competition, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 6th edition [English].

De Smet, D., 2008, The diametrically opposed principles of US and EU antitrust policy, United Kingdom: European Competition Law Review, No. 29 [English].

Jones, A.; Sufrin, B., 2016, EU Competition Law: Text, Cases and Materials, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English].

Lorenz, M., 2013, An Introduction to EU Competition Law, United Kingdom/Cambridge: Cambdrige University press [English].

Monti, G., 2007. EC Competition Law, United Kingdom/Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [English].

Piernas López, J.J., 2015, The Concept of State Aid Under EU Law: From internal market to competition and beyond, United States/New York: Oxford University Press [English].

Quigley, C., 2015, European State Aid Law and Policy, United States/Portland: Hart Publishing, 2nd Edition [English].

Sauter, W., 2016, Coherence in EU Competition Law, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English].

Whish, R.; Bailey, D., 2012, Competition Law, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English].


by Vladimir Griga