Commissioner Almunia’s State Aid Modernization Project – Taking Stock

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Ulrich Soltész, May 28, 2014

Over the last few years many attempts have been made to modernize the European State aid rules, such as the ambitious “State Aid Action Plan” of Commissioner Kroes and the various ideas put forward by her predecessors Monti and Van Miert. While the impact of these previous reform projects was rather limited, it seems that Commissioner Almunia has now got it right. With its “State Aid Modernisation” project, pushed by Director-General Italianer and his very dynamic Deputy Director-General for State aid Koopman, DG COMP has set a clear course which, in the long term, will change many areas of State aid law over the coming years.

The reform, using catchwords such as “streamlined procedures” and “focus” is intended to concentrate State aid control on cases that really do have an impact on competition in the European Union. The SAM project, which has the potential to change the way in which State aid law will be applied in the future, consists of a number of pillars, as described below.