Banet, Catherine: Legal Status and Legal Effects of the Commission’s State Aid Guidelines
The Case of the Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy (EEAG) (2014-2020), European State Aid Law Quarterly, Volume 19 (2020), Issue 2, Pages 172 – 184
This article intends to re-open the debate on the legal status of soft law instruments in EU State aid policy.
Looking at the practical case of the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy (EEAG) (2014-2020) and implementation of them, this article intends to re-open the debate on the legal status of soft law instruments in EU State aid policy.
The article analyses the recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the manner the latter distinguishes between the legal force and the legal effects of the State aid guidelines, not only on the Commission, but also on third parties like Member States.
The article puts in perspective the careful approach of the Court in not recognising the possible indirect effects of the guidelines on Member States or individuals with the procedural and structural changes in the adoption of the guidelines.
A circular process in three steps, building on binding principles, preparing the revision of sectoral EU directives and regulations.
With the implementation of the State Aid Modernisation, a circular process in three steps has been established between the adoption of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), the new State aid guidelines and the proposals for new secondary legislation.
In this process, the guidelines assume the function of a bridge, building on the binding principles enshrined in the GBER and preparing the revision of sectoral EU directives and regulations. With the upcoming revision of the GBER and the EEAG which is now scheduled for adoption in 2021, the same dynamic will most probably apply.
Revision preparing the grounds for legislation in line with the Commission’s European Green Deal Strategy.
The revision of the GBER and the EEAG will need to reflect the content of the newly adopted Clean Energy Package for All Europeans, but will also play a crucial role in preparing the grounds for amending relevant secondary legislation in line with the Commission’s European Green Deal Strategy.