In this issue:
Since 2012, when the Commission launched its State Aid Modernisation (“SAM”) reform of aid policy, new regulations have been steadily forthcoming—including, just last week, the adoption of new General Block Exemptions. So it’s more than timely that this issue brings us up to date on State aid. The first group of papers analyze the new reforms from a variety of perspectives. We then look at where State aid and private mandates intersect, followed by an especially topical question: How will State aid in the financial sector work with the reformed EU Banking Union? Our last article strays from the topic, but merits being Of Special Interest given how many high tech mergers authorities are currently analyzing—there are interesting lessons to be gained from a look back at the Google-AdMob merger.
State Aid: What Just Happened?
The Modernization Process of EU State Aid Law: “The Search for the Right Balance Between State Intervention and the Invisible Hand”
With SAM, EU institutions have shaped the mechanisms designed to enforce the provisions of the TFEU in a way that procedural law de facto resembles substantive law. Stefano Grassani (Pavia e Ansaldo)
What is clear is that the evaluation of success will not be based on the amount of documents that have been revised since the reforms were launched, but on whether the envisaged benefits of tighter timescales, simplified rules, and greater information-gathering powers result in more robust decisions on the cases that are likely to have the greatest impact on the internal market. Hilary Jennings (Univ. of East Anglia)
The Commission estimates that about three-quarters of today’s state aid measures and some two-thirds of aid amounts will be exempted under the revised GBER. Till MÃ¼ller-Ibold (Cleary)
The most radical “and initially controversial” change concerns the Commission’s powers of investigation. Ulrich SoltÃ©sz (Gleiss Lutz)
The State as a “Mere Vehicle” for Aid? Or How the CJEU Has Opened the Door to Uncontrolled (Pseudo) Fiscal State Aid Measures
Otherwise, the doors are open to uncontrolled State aid granted by means of (pseudo) fiscal measures, which is an undesirable outlook. Albert Sanchez Graells (Univ. of Leicester)
The most important changes as compared to the previous regime are the improvement of the restructuring process and the strengthening of the burden-sharing requirements. Andreas von Bonin (Freshfields)
Of Special Interest: Google and AdMob
The FTC’s regulatory restraint in the AdMob transaction was clearly justified in light of the rapid innovation and fierce competition that has occurred in the ensuing years. Logan M. Breed & Justin Bernick (Hogan Lovells)