State aid: the European Commission has widened the scope of the General Block Exemption Regulation

The 2014 General Block exemption Regulation (the “Regulation”) exempts certain categories of state aid from the requirement of prior notification to the Commission and they can be implemented by Member States without prior Commission approval, provided they meet certain requirements and they are unlikely to distort competition in the single market. The decision to widen…

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE CONFIRMS THE LAWFULNESS OF THE RTVE FUNDING SCHEME

On 10 November 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the new Spanish funding scheme for the public television system (RTVE) is not in violation of EU State aid law. Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE) is the Spanish public radio and television broadcasting organisation, which relied on a dual…

THE COMMISSION LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO MCDONALD’S TAX DEALS

On 3 December, the Commission announced that it launched a formal investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s. The investigation aims to verify the concerns that two tax rulings issued by Luxembourg in 2009 provided McDonald’s with an advantageous tax treatment in violation of EU state aid rules. According to the preliminary observations of the…

THE COMMISSION ANNNOUNCES ITS DECISIONS ON TAX RULINGS ISSUED BY LUXEMBOURG AND THE NETHERLANDS

On 21 October, the Commission announced its decisions whereby Luxembourg and Netherlands are found to have violated EU state aid rules, as they granted selective tax advantages to Fiat Finance and Trade and Starbucks respectively by issuing tax rulings artificially lowering the tax paid by the companies. These decisions followed in-depth investigations that were opened…

HUNGARY’S FOOD CHAIN INSPECTION FEE AND TOBACCO TAX ARE UNDER THE COMMISSION’S STATE AID INVESTIGATIONS

As maintained in the statement published by the Commission on 15 July, Hungary’s amended ‘food chain inspection fee’ and a new tobacco tax, in particular the progressive nature of the rates based on companies’ turnover, may prove to amount to the infringement of EU state aid provisions. The Commission, concerned that companies with a lower…