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Postgraduate course

EU and EEA State Aid Law

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeJUS291-2-A
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS Credits

Level of Study



Full time

Teaching semester


Place of Instruction

Bergen Law Faculty

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. For this purpose, this course focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of rules governing the system of State aid control.

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, and the ongoing State Aid Modernisation reform launched in 2012 is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive reform programmes introduced by the Commission in recent history.

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 as it corrects market failures and targets sustainable growth-enhancing policies, whilst encouraging budgetary consolidation and limiting distortions of competition.

The practical importance of State aid rules was well demonstrated in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008. National support to the financial sector between October 2008 and 31 December 2011 amounted to ¿1.6 trillion (13 % of EU GDP). Other non-crisis and sectoral aid measures came to ¿67.2 billion (0.52% of EU GDP) in 2013 alone.

State aid is subject to approval by the Commission (EU) or ESA (EEA). As regards aid that is declared incompatible, the Commission and ESA have the power to issue a recovery order. In the worst case, this may lead to a 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-subsidisation;
  • 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 declared incompatible with the internal market.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the students will have acquired a thorough knowledge of material EU/EEA State aid law and case-law.

In particular, the students will be able to:

  • clarify the objectives and relevance of State aid control;
  • explain the key concepts of State aid law;
  • explain the rules governing the compatibility assessment;
  • provide an account of different types of aid, their objectives and rules governing the compatibility assessment;
  • explain the role of SGEIs and their relation to State aid rules;
  • describe the role of the Commission, ESA, EU Courts and the EFTA Court in safeguarding the proper functioning of the system of State aid control;
  • identify potential and actual State aid problems in daily practice from the perspective of the grantor (the state), the beneficiary undertaking and its competitors.

The students will also become familiar with some of the most relevant EU and EEA case law on State aid.

Required Previous Knowledge

3 years of law studies.

Good level of English language.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

3 years of law studies.

Access to the Course

The course is available for the following students:

  • Admitted to the integrated master programme in law
  • Admitted to the two-year master programme in law
  • Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
  • Granted additional right to study following completed master degree in law at UiB
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures and seminars.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

Home exam (paper), constituting 25% of the final grade

4 hour digital school exam, constituting 75% of the final grade

Information about digital examination can be found here:www.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examinationwww.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examination


Exam language:

  • Question paper: English
  • Answer paper: English


Examination Support Material

Support materials allowed during school exam

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.

Grading Scale

A - E for passed, F for failed.

Subject Overlap

No overlap with courses at the Faculty of Law, UiB.

Assessment Semester

Spring. Students who have failed the home exam, will be given an opprtunity to write a new paper prior to the school exam.

Course Evaluation

According to Law Faculty routines.

Course Coordinator

Associate professor Malgorzata Agnieszka Cyndecka.


Contact Information

Administrative contact: elective.courses@jurfa.uib.no

Course supervisor: Associate professor Malgorzata Agnieszka Cyndecka.