Growing Pains: Is Private Enforcement of State Aid Stuck In Adolescence?

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In 2012, the European Commission carried out a program of state aid modernisation, with three principal aims: “(i) to foster sustainable, smart and inclusive growth in a competitive internal market; (ii) to focus Commission ex ante scrutiny on cases with the biggest impact on internal market whilst strengthening the Member States’ cooperation in State aid enforcement; (iii) to streamline the rules and provide for faster decisions.” To achieve these goals, the Commission issued revised guidance on state aid in aviation , restructuring , risk finance and other areas to promote measures that are “well-designed, targeted at identified market failures and objectives of common interest, and [the] least distortive.”6 It added new categories of aid – specifically, those deemed unlikely to distort competition – to the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)7 and expanded the scope procedures for handling state aid complaints, and introduced a Code to make state aid It issued a notice clarifying the notion of state aid, revised its of the de minimis exemption. proceedings “as transparent, simple, clear, predictable and timely as possible”.