Services of General Economic Interest and State Aid: the evolution of the case-law of the European Courts before and after the Altmark ruling.
School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, LLM in Transnational and European Commercial Law, Mediation, Arbitration and Energy Law
The present paper deals with some of the main aspects of the regulation and
functioning of services of general economic interest in the framework of EU
competition law and EU State aid law.
After some introductory remarks about the concept of SGEI’s, their legal framework
and their significance for the European legal regime, this paper refers to the
relationship of SGEI’s with EU State aid law, which is based and depending on the
fundamental issue of the legal evaluation of public funding granted to undertakings for
the provision of public service obligations.
The main part of this paper focuses on the crucial contribution of the case
law of the
European Courts on the issue, which decisively determined and set the legal rules and
the criteria under which it is judged whether each State financing of a SGEI amounts to
State aid or merely constitutes legitimate compensation for its performance.
The fundamental objective of this paper is to shed
light on the rationale of the Court of
Justice and the General Court, in several cases over the last years, and especially in
rulings which formed and established the framework for the legal evaluation of SGEI’s
and are regarded as cornerstones until nowadays.