EU and EEA State Aid Law - Bachelor
- ECTS credits10
- Teaching semesterSpring
- Course codeJUS2302
- Number of semesters1
Level of Study
Place of Instruction
Faculty of Law, University of Bergen
Objectives and Content
This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the EU/EEA State aid rules and their application to state interventions that amount to aid within the meaning of Articles 107(1) TFEU and 61(1) EEA, respectively. A company that receives government support gains an advantage over its competitors. Therefore, the EU Treaty and the EEA Agreement generally prohibit providing State aid unless it is justified by reasons of general economic development. To ensure that this prohibition is respected, and exemptions are applied equally across the EU/EEA, the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) are in charge of ensuring that the EU/EEA Member States comply with State aid rules. Their decisions are subject to judicial review by the EU Courts and the EFTA Court, respectively.
EU/EEA State aid rules are an essential component of EU/EEA competition law. State aid control has considerably gained in importance since the 1980s. The practical importance of State aid rules was well demonstrated in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008/2009. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine have one more time confirmed the importance of ensuring that the Member States may support companies in a way that does not undermine the internal market. At the end of 2021, EU Member States granted around ¿940 billion to companies in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, representing about 3.39% of total EU27 GDP on an annual basis.
Indeed, contrary perhaps to popular belief, State aid law is not only about preventing EU/EEA Member States from granting aid that is incompatible with the internal market - it is first and foremost about granting aid that is compatible with the internal market. Such aid is justified when it corrects market failures and/or targets sustainable growth-enhancing policies without adversely affecting trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. Typical examples of "good aid" are aid to energy and environmental protection, regional development, combating unemployment, promoting innovation, research and development, allowing small and medium undertakings (SMEs) to apply for bank loans on preferential terms, and, certainly, aid to companies suffering from the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak or the Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Importantly, State aid is subject to approval by the Commission (EU Member States) or ESA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). Aid that is granted in breach of State aid rules must, as a rule, be repaid by the beneficiary. In the worst case, this may lead to bankruptcy of the beneficiary in question.
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough analysis of the most relevant aspects of State aid law, including but not limited to the following aspects:
- Definition of State aid and objectives of State aid control;
- The notion of the «private investor test» - the state acting as entrepreneur, and issues of cross-subsidization;
- Primary and secondary EU and EEA law on state aid, the relevant case-law of the EU Courts and the EFTA Court; ¿State aid control at national level in the EEA Member States;
- Certain relevant aspects of the interplay and boundaries between State aid and Public Procurement law;
- Compatibility assessment and Services of General Economic Interest (SGEIs);
- Procedures before the Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA);
- The scope of judicial review;
- Measures concerning the recovery of aid that was declared incompatible with the internal market.
By the end of the course, students:
- have general knowledge of material and procedural rules in the field of State aid as well as the relevant theories, principles and notions
- have general knowledge of the rules governing the competences and obligations of national authorities and national courts in the field of State aid
- are familiar with the ongoing academic discussions in the field and the modernisation of State aid rules that are being adjusted in order to respond to amongst others climate change and crises resulting from the Covid19 outbreak and the war in Ukraine
- can update the acquired knowledge by using different resources
- have knowledge of the reasoning behind the State aid law regime and its significance.
By the end of the course, students:
- can identify the relevant rules that are applicable to a given case and apply them correctly while explaining and justifying their choice by referring to the relevant case law and legal literature
- can identify potential and existing weaknesses of the current regulations.
- can complete the assignments alone or as part of a group and present the findings both orally and in writing
- can discuss relevant topics in the field
- is familiar with the role of State aid rules in the context of the EU's policies and ambitions concerning amongst others fighting climate change
Required Previous Knowledge
Two years of law studies.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Good level of English language. Basic knowledge of EU/EEA law.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Combined with JUS291-2-A EU and EEA State Aid Law or JUS2502 EU and EEA State Aid Law, this course will generate no new credits.
Combines successfully with:
JUS2301/3501 Free movement under EU and EEA market law
JUS2309/3509 Competition Law
JUS2315/3515 EU and EEA Public Procurement Law
Access to the Course
The course is available for the following students:
- Admitted to the five-year master programme in law
- Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
- Exchange students at the Faculty of Law
The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course
Teaching and learning methods
During the lectures, students will be presented with the theory (the relevant regulations, principles and theories in the field) and its application by discussing examples of State aid cases.
In addition, students will have access to dedicated modules for self-study via the online learning support system Mitt UiB. The modules in Mitt UiB will address selected topics in the field.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment
4-hour digital school exam.
Information about digital examination can be found here: http://www.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examination#
Examination Support Material
See section 3-5 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.
Special regulations about dictionaries
- According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary.
- Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in two different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition).
- Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries.
- Any kind of combination which makes up more than two physical volumes is forbidden.
- In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator minimum two weeks before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination minimum two weeks before the exam will be subject to the usual regulations (Section 3-5) about examination support materials.
A-E for passed, F for fail
The reading list will be ready 1 December for the spring semester.
According to the administrative arrangements for course evaluation at the Faculty of Law
The Academic Affairs Committee (Studieutvalget) at the Faculty of Law is responsible for ensuring the material content, structure and quality of the course.
Malgorzata Agnieszka Cyndecka
The Faculty of Law¿s section for students and academic affairs (Studieseksjonen) is responsible for administering the programme.