This paper aims at providing an overview of the interpretation of the criterion of effect on trade within the notion of state aid laid down in Article 107(1) TFEU. It refers to both the case-law and the decision-making practice. Special focus is then put into decisions concluding there is no effect on trade. Possible inconsistencies within the precedents lead to the conclusion that an assessment of what constitutes a measure having a local effect remains to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
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Joined Cases C-180/98 to C-184/98, Pavlov and Others, EU:C:2000:428, paragraph 74; Case C-222/04, Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze SpA and Others, EU:C:2006:8, paragraph 107.
Joined Cases C-180/98 to C-184/98, Pavlov and Others, EU:C:2000:428, paragraph 75 but also Case 118/85, Commission v Italy, EU:C:1987:283, paragraph 7; Case C-35/96, Commission v Italy, EU:C:1998:303, paragraph 36.
See 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 (Notice on the Notion of State Aid) OJ C262 of 19.07.2016, pages 1-50.
The numbering has been changed with the different amendments to the Treaty from Article 93(1) prior to Maastricht to Article 87(1) and now Article 107(1) TFEU.
Case C-487/06 P British Aggregates EU:C:2008:757, paragraph 111.
Case C-66/02 Italy v Commission EU:C:2005:768, paragraphs 112 and 114.
Case T-35/99 Keller v Commission EU:T: 2002:19 paragraph 85.
Case C-73/03 Spain v Commission EU:C:2004:711 paragraph 29.
Joined Cases T-298/97, T-312/97 Alzetta EU:T:2000:151, paragraph 81.
Case 730/79, Philip Morris, EU:C:1980:209, paragraph 11.
Joined Cases T-298/97, T-312/97, Alzetta, EU:T:2000:151, paragraphs 141 to 147.
Article 61(1) of the Agreement for the Establishment of the European Economic Area applicable to the EU Member States as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway mirrors the definition of state aid laid down in Article 107(1) TFEU. The EFTA Surveillance Authority is entrusted with the enforcement of the State aid rules for the EFTA pillar.
Case 47/69 France v Commission, EU:C:1970:60, paragraph 16.
Notice on the Notion of State Aid, Section 6, paragraphs 185-186 and 190-198. OJ C262 of 19.07.2016, pages 1-50.
Case C-518/13 The Queen, Eventech Ltd v The Parking Adjudicator (Eventech), EU:C:2015:9.
Case C-197/11 and C-203/11 Libert and others, EU:C:2013:288, paragraphs 76 and 77.
Case C-518/13 Eventech, EU:C:2015:9, paragraphs 65 and 66.
Case C-518/13 Eventech, EU:C:2015:9, paragraph 70.
Case C-385/18 Arriva Italia and others, EU:C:2019:1121, paragraph 45.
Case C-280/00 Altmark EU:C:2003:415, paragraph 82.
Case C-387/17 Fallimento Traghetti del Mediterraneo EU:C:2019:51, paragraph 42.
Case C-659/17 Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale (INPS) v Azienda Napoletana Mobilità SpA (Azienda Napoletana Mobilità) AG Hogan, EU:C:2019:475, paragraph 35 in fine.
Case C-659/17 Azienda Napoletansa Mobilità EU:C:2019:633, paragraph 30.
SA.29769 Spain – Aid to certain football clubs and SA.36387 Spain – Aid to Valencian football clubs.
Case T-679/16 Athletic Club v Commission, EU:T:2019:112, paragraph 76.
Case C-332/18 P Mytilinaios Anonymos Etaria – Omilos Epicheiriseon, EU:C:2019:1065 paragraph 84.
Case C-74/16, Congregación de Escuelas Pías Provincia Betania, EU:C:2017:496, paragraph 79.
Case C-494/06 P Commission v Italian Republic and Wam SpA, EU:C:2009:272, paragraph 65.
Cases 96 and 318/82 Netherlands and Leeuwarder Papierwarenfabrriek v Commission, EU:C:1985:113, paragraph 24.
Case 730/79 Philip Morris, EU:C:1980:209, paragraph 11.
Case C-142/87 Belgium v Commission (Tubemeuse), EU:C:1990:125, paragraph 43.
Case C-351/98 Spain v Commission, EU:C:2002:530, paragraph 51.
Case T-214/95 Het Vlaamse Gewest (Flemish Region) v Commission, EU:T:1998:77, paragraph 49.
Case T-728/17 Marinvest and others v Commission, EU:T:2019:325, paragraph 93.
Case T-728/17 Marinvest and others v Commission, EU:T:2019:325, paragraphs 86-93.
State aid N 258/00 Freizeitbad Dorsten – Germany, Commission Decision of 12.01.2001, published in the OJ C 172 of 16.6.2001, page 16.
Inter alia, N 376/01 — Italy - Aid scheme for cableways, OJ C172 of 18.7.2002, page 2.
State Aid NN135/2002, later C10/2003 – The Netherlands - Measures in favour of non-profit harbours for recreational crafts in the Netherlands, OJ L 34 of 6.02.2004, page 63.
See paragraph 55 of the decision.
EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision No 291/03/COL of 18 December 2003 regarding the establishment of private day-care facilities on public sites with subsidised real estate leasehold fees in Oslo (Norway).
State aid No 543/2001 – Ireland Capital Allowances for Hospitals, OJ C154 of 28.06.2002, page 4.
State aid No N191/2002 – United Kingdom DERA – Public Private Partnership, OJ C 186 of 6.8.2003, page 16.
2003/687/EC Commission Decision of 19 March 2003 on State aid granted by Germany to Linde AG (Saxony-Anhalt) OJ L 250 of 02.10.2003, page 24.
SA.34466, SA34404, SA34576 and SA.33243 respectively.
SA.38920, Recital 21.
SA.44942, Recital 21.
SA.45512, Recital 14.
SA.37904, Recital 17.
SA.39403, Recital 25.
SA.38920, Recital 19.
SA.44692, Recital 25.
SA.33149, Recital 21.
SA.38035, Recital 14.
SA.38920, Recital 22.
See Bernadette Zelger “The ‘Effect on Trade’ Criterion in European Union State Aid Law: A Critical Approach”, ESTAL 1/2018, page 41.
See Cees Dekker “The ‘Effect on Trade between the Member States’ criterion: is it the Righ Citerion by Which the Commission’s Workload Can Be Managed?” ESTAL 2/2017, page 160.
Case T-747/17 Union des Ports de France (UPF) v Commission, EU:T:2019:271, paragraph 103.
Zelger, B.: The ‘Effect on Trade’ Criterion in European Union State Aid Law: A Critical Approach. ESTAL 1/2018
Dekker, C.: The ‘Effect on Trade between the Member States’ criterion: is it the Righ Citerion by Which the Commission’s Workload Can Be Managed? ESTAL 2/2017
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Segura Catalán, M.J., Clayton, M. Effect on trade of a state intervention: the fifth criterion in the notion of state aid. ERA Forum 21, 235–250 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12027-020-00605-x
- Notion of state aid
- Effect on trade
- Local effect
- Small size
- Small aid amount