Home
Student Pages
Postgraduate course

EU and EEA State Aid Law

Main content

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS Credits

Level of Study

Master

Full-time/Part-time

Full time

Teaching semester

Spring.

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. A company which receives government support gains an advantage over its competitors. Therefore, the EU Treaty and the EEA Agreement generally prohibit 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 State aid complies with EU/EEA rules.

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 COVID-19 crisis has 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. The practical importance of State aid rules was well demonstrated already 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 EURO 67.2 billion (0.52% of EU GDP) in 2013 alone.

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.

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 company. 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 be able to find and use the relevant practice form the EU Courts and the EFTA Court as well as the Commission and ESA decision-making practice.

Required Previous Knowledge

3 years of law studies.

Good level of English language.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

3 years of law studies.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

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

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 and learning methods

Lectures and seminars.

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures and seminars.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

None.

Forms of Assessment

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

4 hour digital school exam, constituting 75% of the final grade. The students will have to answer one theoretical question and provide an analysis of a case raising State aid issues. During the course students will learn how to approach such assignments.

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

http://www.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

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

Course supervisor: Associate professor Malgorzata Agnieszka Cyndecka.

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: School exam

    Date
    09.06.2021, 09:00
    Duration
    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    26.05.2021
    Examination system
    Inspera
    Digital exam