My research focuses on the EU/EEA law on State aid and data protection/General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
State aid law is part of EU/EEA competition law. It plays a crucial role in safeguarding the proper functioning of the Internal Market. Rules on State aid provide for a level playing field for all market operators (enterprises) in the Internal Market. Norway is well integrated in the EU's Internal Market owing to the EEA Agreement of 1992. Rules on granting aid are very relevant in Norway where the public sector is entrusted with many tasks and public undertakings often compete with private ones. At the same time, Norway is known for using State aid law to grant "good aid" such as aid to protect environment, support regional development or finance research and innovation. The COVID-19 outbreak made rules on granting aid particularly important again. A number of economic crisis measures amount to State aid under the EU/EEA law.
In 2016, my PhD thesis "The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle" won the European State Aid Law Quarterly PhD Award for the best PhD thesis in the field of EU/EEA State aid law written in the period 2012-2016. It was published by Kluwer Law International.
Currently, I am working on issues related on the application of State aid law to taxation. This is the topic of my current project "EU/EEA state aid law and Tax law” that is financed by UiB's SPIRE Programme. See the first international workshop that is part of my project.
In 2019, I was invited to take a position of Associate Editor of law journal European State Aid Law Quarterly (ESTAL), Lexxion, Berlin, the first pan-European publication for State aid law, recognized as the leading journal in its field today. I have special responsibility for reviewing and proposing scientific articles and case notes, contributing to the development of the Journal and its strategy, publishing scientific articles, editorials and case notes.
Data privacy and the General Data Protection Regulation is one of the fields of law that has massively gained in importance during the last years. The questions concerning the legality of processing of our personal data are being stated on a daily basis due to digitalisation of almost every single aspect of our life. Currently, I am working with issues related to COVID-19 contact tracing mobile applications, anonymisation of personal data and the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, I have been invited to join the University of Bergen’s Pandemic Centre as an expert in privacy/GDPR.
From January I am member of UiB's Working Group - digital competence for UiB's students. The Working group is led by prof. Barbara Wasson, Director for Centre for the Science of Learning & Technology (SLATE) at UiB. The Working group's task is to provide recommendations concerning both the form and contents of a course on Data literacy for all UiB's students. In this respect, I will contribute with the lemenst concerning data privacy/GDPR. The Working group is expected to deliver its report on 1 April.
Selected contributions in newspapers and blog platforms:
Analysis: “Under Article 258 TFEU the burden of proof rests with the Commission, which may not rely on any presumption”, EULawLive, 15. January 2021
Analysis of processing of personal data by a number of mobile applications in light of the requirements set out in GDPR - "My phone spied on me" - NRK Beta, 3. December 2020
A comment on Bergen City Council's new rules on COVID-19 tracing: Reagerer på Bergens nye koronaforskrift: – Hundre prosent sikkert at persondata kommer på avveie. Eksperter på datasikkerhet og personvern kritiserer koronaregler, Bergens Tidende, 29. October 2020
Analysis: “Clarifications on the Member States’ freedom to determine public policy objectives under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU” at EULawLIVE, 23. September 2020
A dystopian story about COVID-19, Artificial Intelligence setting grades and the GDPR, EFTA-Studies.org, 5. September 2020
Debate: IB-saken viser hvorfor vi trenger personvern. Automatiserte avgjørelser kan gjøre livet enklere, men kan også lede til diskriminerende og urettferdige resultater. Bergens Tidende 17. July 2020 (A comment on the IBO case and automated decisions under GDPR)
Invited guest in a podcast "Misjon Vestlandet" by PwC Bergen in which I discussed the recent State aid developments in light of the COVID-19 outbreak
Analysis “The compatibility of turnover-based progressive taxes with EU law” EULawLive, 4. April 2020
In my capacity as member of The Young Academy of Norway (AYF) Researchers "Take the mental health of researchers seriously" - "Ta forskernes mentale helse på alvor", Forskerforum.no 24. April 2020
Interview concerning a controversial public-private project "Kommune skal lære opp privat selskap: Omstridt kommunalt-privat samarbeid kan være ulovlig statsstøtte", Fagbladet, 1. April 2020
Sugar tax in Norway and State aid rules, Dagens Næringsliv, 20. June 2018
Amazon og Apples skatteregning i EU, Dagens Næringsliv, 8. November 2017
Innovasjon Norge må forklare seg Bergens Tidende, 11. October 2017
Like vilkår - men likere for noen Dagens Næringsliv, 25. April 2017
Kan være både tillatt og fornuftig Dagens Næringsliv, 15. August 2016
Hvor mye «kultur» i kulturaktivitet? Dagens Næringsliv, 1. July 2016
Supervision of master students: EU/EEA State aid law, Data protection law, GDPR (in English and Norwegian)
General responsibility for EU/EEA law master students
JUS294-2-A Privacy and Data protection GDPR - course supervisor
JUS291-2-A EU and EEA State Aid Law - course supervisor
JUS295-2-A Legal Technology: Artificial Intelligence and Law
JUS287-2-A EU/EEA Commercial Law
JUS121 NIRI Norwegian and international legal organisations (Norske og internasjonale rettslige institusjoner (obligatory course, in Norwegian)
JUS111 Administrative law I (Forvaltningsrett I – obligatory course, in Norwegian)
JUS123 Adminsitrative law II (Forvaltningsrett II - obligatory course, in Norwegian)
- 2020. Review of EU Case Law on State Aid – 2019. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 468-514.
- 2020. EEA Law and the Climate Change. The Case of Norway. Polish Review of International and European Law. 107-126.
- 2019. ‘Reversed’, ‘Excessive’ or Misconstrued? The Controversy About the Burden of Proof in MEOP Cases. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 157-168.
- 2019. The MEOP in the Larko Case · Case T-423/14 Larko Geniki . European State Aid Law Quarterly. 180-185.
- 2019. The 2019 ‘Fitness Check’ of State Aid Modernisation Reform of 2012—An Opportunity to Redefine and Reintroduce Sustainability into the EU/EEA State Aid Rules? The Example of the Transport Sector. Sustainability. 20 pages.
- 2018. The MEOP in the FIH Case - Where Law and Economics Meet, but Law Prevails (C‑579/16 P Commission v FIH ∙ Annotation on the Judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of 6 March 2018, in Case C‑579/16 P European Commission v FIH Holding and FIH Erhvervsbank (FIH)). European State Aid Law Quarterly. 546-552.
- 2018. Price Increasing Tax Reductions for Electronic Newspapers. Implications for State Aid Policy. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 375-386.
- 2018. Once an Aid Recipient, Always an Aid Recipient? The Post-Crisis State Interventions in the Banking Sector and Beyond. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 192-203.
- 2017. The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle: Lessons Learnt from the Financial Crisis. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 512-526.
- 2017. FIH Holding and FIH Erhvervsbank v European Commission ∙ T‑386/14. Annotation on the Judgment of the General Court (Sixth Chamber) of 15 September 2016 in Case T‑386/14 FIH Holding and FIH Erhvervsbank v European Commission. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 86-92.
- 2016. The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle Article that won European State Aid Quarterly PhD Award 2016. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 381-399.
- 2015. The problem of objectives pursued by the state under the application of the Market Economy Investor Principle (MEIP). Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap. 263-294.
- 2013. O zadawaniu właściwych pytań, czyli kilka refleksji na temat dopuszczalności zastosowania kryterium (testu) prywatnego inwestora. Glosa do wyroków Sądu z dnia 15 grudnia 2009 r. w sprawie T-156/04 Électricité de France v. Komisja i Trybunału z dnia 5 czerwca 2012 r. w sprawie C-124/10 P. Komisja v. Électricité de France – obu dotyczących umorzenia wierzytelności podatkowej przez władze francuskie wobec Électricité de France (EDF). Internetowy Kwartalnik Antymonopolowy i Regulacyjny. 190-214.
- 2020. Personvern og GDPR.
- 2020. EØS-regler om statsstøtte, like konkurransevilkår og gode formål.
- 2018. EEA law and the climate change. Some thoughts from Norway .
- 2017. «EØS-avtalens vilkår om at støtten må påvirke samhandelen mellom avtalepartene (samhandelskriteriet)».
- 2017. «Etterlevelse av markedsaktørprinsippet (MEOP)».
- 2017. Sole responsibility for a half-day seminar on the Market Economy Investor Principle (lecture, assignments).
- 2019. Brexit - possible consequences and impact on Scandinavia.
- 2019. The selectivity condition in tax cases - where do we stand?
- 2019. The burden of proof and evidence required under the Market Economy Operator Principle - lessons learnt from recent case law.
- 2019. The 2019 ‘Fitness check’ of State aid Modernisation reform of 2012 - an opportunity to redefine and reintroduce sustainability into EU/EEA State aid rules? .
- 2019. State Aid at the Local Level - Norway.
- 2019. Recovery of aid. Selected issues.
- 2019. How to determine the creditworthiness of an SME?
- 2019. EØS-regler om statsstøtte i universitets- og høyskolesektoren.
- 2019. Could rules on State aid to promote risk finance investments also promote sustainable economic growth?
- 2018. «Norske universiteter og høyskoler i lys av EU/EØS-regler om statsstøtte» - presentasjon i kjølvannet av Politisk plattform for en regjering utgått av Høyre, Fremskrittspartiet og Venstre, Jeløya, 14. januar 2018 og Rapport «Like konkurransevilkår for offentlige og private aktører» av 23. januar 2018 (Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet).
- 2018. The Market Economy Operator Principle.
- 2018. Personvern og menneskerettigheter.
- 2018. Offentliga aktörers möjligheter och begränsningar att investera i egna bolag.
- 2017. “EU/EEA state aid law and the energy sector”.
- 2017. «Price increasing tax reductions for electronic newspapers: Implications for State aid policy” basert på en artikkel skrevet sammen med Tim Wyndham, NHH, som gjelder nullmoms på elektroniske aviser i Norge.
- 2017. «Price increasing tax reductions for electronic newspapers: Implications for State aid policy”.
- 2017. Startup seminar "Towards more stability, competitiveness and predictability in the financial sector" Presentation of the project financed by the Finansmarkedsfondet Presentation of the postdoctoral project: «Towards more stability, competitiveness and predictability in the financial sector: the correct use of the Market Economy Operator Principle as part of the solution» .
- 2017. Presentasjon av postdok.-prosjektet på Stockholm School of Economics - Towards more stability, competitiveness and predictability in the financial sector: the correct use of the Market Economy Operator Principle as part of the solution.
- 2017. Presentasjon av postdoc.-prosjektet og statsstøtteregelverket for miljø og energitiltak på et seminar med representanter fra Utenriksdepartementet (rettsavdeling).
- 2017. Fremleggelse av en artikkel: Once an Aid Recipient, Always an Aid Recipient? The Post-Crisis State Interventions in the Banking Sector and Beyond .
- 2016. The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle Lecture following receiving the price for the best PhD thesis in the period 2012-2016 - the European State Aid Law Quarterly PhD Award for the best PhD thesis in the field of EU/EEA State aid law .
- 2016. Om anvendbarhet og anvendelse av markedaktørprinsippet.
- 2016. Fremleggelse av en artikkel: «The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle: Lessons learnt from the Financial Crisis».
- 2016. BECCLE-Seminar: Kryssubsidiering, effektiv ressursbruk og ESAs kontroll av det offentlige.
- 2013. The Applicability and Application of MEIP Senior manager Steffen Sühnel, PwC, Berlin: Applying the Private Investor Test in practice.
- 2013. Presentation of the PhD thesis : The Market Economyc Investor principle and Article 345 TFEU".
- 2012. The applicability of State aid rules to financing Health Care in the EU/EEA.
- 2011. The Market Economy Investor Principle as a legal tool aimed at safeguarding the principle of equality of private and public undertakings under State aid rules.
- 2010. "State Aid, cross-subsidising and tender bids from suppliers controlled by the public – a problem in regulated procurement? (cfr Dir 2004/18 Article 55)”.
- 2010. "Article 345 TFEU - an exemption from competition rules? Chosen state aid related aspects of competition between public and private undertakings in the Internal Market" .
- 2019. State Aid in the Form of Tax Exemptions – Some Thoughts from Norway. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 119-120.
- 2020. Analysis: “The compatibility of turnover-based progressive taxes with EU law” . EULawLive.
- 2020. Private Enforcement of European Competition and State Aid Law: Current Challenges and the Way Forward F. WOLLENSCHLÄGER, W. WURMNEST, T. M.J. MÖLLERS (EDS.) REVIEW BY Małgorzata Cyndecka. EULawLive.
- 2016. "The Market Economy Investor Test in EU State Aid Law: Applicability and Application", International Competition Law Series.
- 2021. Analysis: “Under Article 258 TFEU the burden of proof rests with the Commission, which may not rely on any presumption”. EULawLive.
- 2020. Analysis: “Clarifications on the Member States’ freedom to determine public policy objectives under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU”. EULawLive.
- 2020. A dystopian story about COVID-19, Artificial Intelligence setting grades and the GDPR. EFTA-Studies.org.
- 2020. Ta forskernes mentale helse på alvor. Forskerforum.no.
- 2020. Kort sagt. statlig propaganda i Polen. Aftenposten.no.
- 2020. Debatt: – IB-saken viser hvorfor vi trenger personvern Automatiserte avgjørelser kan gjøre livet enklere, men kan også lede til diskriminerende og urettferdige resultater. Bergens Tidende.
- 2020. Betaler du nok skatt, Apple? EU skal avgjøre om Apple har fått ulovlig statsstøttehttps://blogg.forskning.no/akademiet-for-yngre-forskere/betaler-du-nok-skatt-apple/1630916. www.forskning.no.
- 2018. Slumpavgift blir stasstøtteproblem. Dagens næringsliv. 26-26.
- 2017. «Innovasjon Norge må forklare seg». Bergens Tidende.
- 2017. Amazon og Apples skatteregning i EU. Dagens næringsliv. 38-38.
- 2016. “A controversial expansion of the MEIP in a financial crisis case – the GC’s judgment in Case T‑386/14 FIH of 15 September 2016 (under appeal)”. Kluwer Competition Law Blog.
- 2016. Like vilkår - men likere for noen. Dagens næringsliv.
- 2016. Kan være både tillatt og fornuftig. Dagens næringsliv. 31-31.
- 2016. Hvor mye «kultur» i kulturaktivitet? Dagens næringsliv. 31-31.
- 2016. Concurrences blog – innlegg: “The EU General Court hands down a controversial judgment expanding market economy investor principle in a financial crisis case (FIH Holding)” http://www.concurrences.com/en/bulletin/news-issues/september-2016/the-french-supreme-court-holds-that-a-jurisdiction-or-arbitration-clause-cannot . e-Competitions Bulletin.
- 2014. Gjestebloggpost: T-488/11 Sarc v. Kommisjonen - programvarelisensiering som statsstøtte. Immaterialrettstrollet.
- 2015. The Applicability and Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle.
- 2020. Vi drøfter koronakrisen - om statens tiltak slår til, eller slår feilhttps://soundcloud.com/user-889453098-695484926/vi-drofter-koronakrisen-om-statens-tiltak-slar-til-eller-slar-feil.
- 2020. Telefonen spionerte på meg. Slik fant jeg overvåkerne.
- 2020. Reagerer på Bergens nye koronaforskrift: – Hundre prosent sikkert at persondata kommer på avveie. Eksperter på datasikkerhet og personvern kritiserer koronaregler.
- 2020. Kommune skal lære opp privat selskap: Omstridt kommunalt-privat samarbeid kan være ulovlig statsstøttehttps://fagbladet.no/nyheter/kommune-skal-lare-opp-privat-selskap-omstridt-kommunaltprivat-samarbeid-kan-vare-ulovlig-statsstotte-6.91.691903.6e243f1be6.
- 2020. Dax18 Presidentvalg i Polen.
- 2019. Bomprosjektene kunne spart flere hundre millioner i året.
- 2018. Leterefusjonsordningen er trolig ulovlig Den norske leterefusjonsordningen utgjør en gyllen skattefordel, men kan bli gjenstand for gransking av Esa pga. mistanke om den i praksis er statsstøtte, som ikke er tillatt.
- 2018. Har staten lov til å konkurrere på det private markedet?
- 2017. Moods fekk fem millionar i risikolån – jussekspert er skeptisk til om det var lovleg https://www.nrk.no/sognogfjordane/ber-om-forklaring-pa-lan-til-moods-1.13728258.
- 2016. Rydder opp i EUs regler for statsstøtte http://www.uib.no/aktuelt/100511/rydder-opp-i-eus-regler-statsst%C3%B8tte.
- 2020. Polen - Når rettsstaten svikter https://www.bergenglobal.no/events/polen-naar-rettsstaten-svikter/.
- 2021. State aid and the financial sector: the crisis and beyond. 20 pages.
- 2019. Om anvendelsen av EØS-regler om offentlig støtte i den norske universitets- og høyskolesektoren. 18 pages.
- 2019. Klimarettslege utfordringar for rettsvitskapen. 20 pages.
- 2018. Norway - National Report - XXVIII FIDE Congress. 17 pages.
- 2018. Effectiveness and Application of EU and EEA Law in Polish Courts. 44 pages.
- 2017. BP Chemicals: Lessons to Be Recalled in the Context of Applying the MEIP to Consecutive State Measures in the Financial Sector. 14 pages.
- 2019. Review of EU Case Law on State Aid – 2018. European State Aid Law Quarterly. 313-338.
I am currently working with a few projects that concern both data protection /GDPR and EU/EEA State aid law.
As regards data protection/GDPR, I have been invited to join a team of brilliant researchers that are applying for financing of Centre of Excellence - Center for personalized systems medicine in endocrinology (ENDO4P) at the University of Bergen from the Norwegian Research Council. The aim of the project is to bring endocrinology from traditional disease-oriented diagnostics and treatment into the era of P4 Systems Medicine, focusing on Prediction and Prevention of disease, Personalized treatment and Participation of the patient. The project amounts to processing loads of personal data of patients which creates enormous possibilities and interesting data privacy issues.
As part of creating brand-new special courses JUS294-2-A Privacy and data Protection – GDPR and JUS295-2-A Legal Technology: Artificial Intelligence and Law, I am helping to coordinate cooperation with Media City Bergen, an international knowledge and innovation cluster based in Bergen. Law students will have a unique possibility to apply their knowledge of data protection/GDPR and Artificial Intelligence in real projects that are being developed in Media City Bergen.
As regards EU/EEA State aid law, I am working with one of the most debated and complex issues that is currently being discussed in the EU/EEA, namely the relation between the EU/EEA State aid law and Tax law of the Member States. The recent developments in the EU law have expanded the scope of State aid law, which considerably limits the Member States’ room for manoeuvre. Norway being a Contracting Party to the EEA Agreement is subject to the same rules as EU Member States, with some minor exceptions only.
The recent examples of the EU/EEA institutions applying State aid law to taxation have revived the debate on the EU/EEA law interfering in the sovereignty of the Member States. Given the fact that direct taxation to a large extent remains a sole competence of the Member States, it should not come as a surprise that this debate raises much controversy. In fact, its scope and importance is being compared to the discussion on the application of the free movement rules a few decades ago. In addition, the debate on fiscal aid also has an international and interdisciplinary dimension. The highly topical issue of tax treaties and tax rulings in favour of multinational companies such as Apple, Amazon or Starbucks concerns the problem of tax evasion and tax avoidance and must be seen in light of international tax avoidance structures adopted by the G20 and OECD. Fiscal aid for environment and energy-saving objectives in the form of “green taxation” is also a global issue. Obviously, the fight against the climate change is not limited to the EU/EEA states.
Given the complexity of applying State aid law to tax measures, a fruitful collaboration with internationally renowned experts in the relevant fields of law is indispensable. My project includes thus two gatherings of experts that will create a solid foundation for future collaboration going beyond the planned project. This is crucial to developing a much needed expertise in State aid law in the Norwegian academia and will strengthen the UiB’s position EU/EEA- and worldwide. The project is financed by the University of Bergen's SPIRE-fund (Strategisk program for internasjonalt forskningssamarbeid). In November 2019, I organised the first gathering in the Norwegian House of Research and Innovation in Brussels. The workshop gathered the following renowned experts: Georg Børresen, Assistand director general, Norwegian tax authorities: The "arm's length principle" from the perspective of Tax law, Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, Director of the Competition Law Forum & Senior Research Fellow in Competition Law, British Institute of International and Comparative law: The "arms's length principle" in State aid cases - The latest from the Court of Justice of the European Union, Joana Christina Pedroso, Doctoral student in Tax Law, University of Gothenburg: The "arm's length principle" from a pluralistic perspective of EU law, Dr. Malgorzata Cyndecka, Associate Professor at the University of Bergen: The selectivity condition in tax cases - where de we stand? Introductory remarks, The recent case law - (even) less clarity? Maarten Aalbers, PhD candidate, Leiden School of Law, Leiden University and Dr. Henrik Skar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Bergen, Christian Jordal, Deputy Director, State Aid Unit, EFTA Surceillance Authority: The Norwegian cash refund of the tax value of petrolium exploration costs - the question of selectivity in practice. New Recovery Notice - old problems (with national legislation)?, Dr. Malgorzata Cyndecka, Associate Professor at University of Bergen schemes implemented under GBER, time limitations, etc. The full programme may be accessed here.
In 2019, I have completed my postdoctoral project «Towards more stability, competitiveness and predictability in the financial sector», which was financed by the Norwegian Finansmarkedsfondet, (the Finance Market Fund). The Finance Market Fund is intended to contribute to increasing public understanding concerning financial markets, with particular emphasis on the functioning of financial markets, and also ethical issues.
The project resulted in a number of peer-reviewed scientific articles that were published in the European State Aid Law Quarterly, (Lexxion), the first pan-European publication for State aid law, recognized as the leading journal in its field today (see Cristin for the full list pf publications). I have also contributed to the second edition of the highly appraised "Research Handbook on European State Aid Law" edited by L Hancher & JJ Piernas López with a chapter “State aid and the financial sector: the crisis and beyond”, which will be published by Edward Elgar in 2020. My project also included workshops with international experts in the field of State aid law, both academics and practitioners, as well as a concluding conference "Offentlig oppgavetyveri?" during which the invited experts discussed competition between the private and public sectors. The conference was also linked to my contribution as a member of the Norwegian government’s external working group, "Competition on a level playing field", that analysed amongst others implicit guarantees and tax exemptions in favour of public entities and undertakings that compete with private market operators. In 2018, the Working Group submitted its report: Like konkurransevilkår for offentlige og private aktører.