Chapter 9: Locus standi of natural and legal persons before the European Courts in State aid cases
This chapter discusses a variety of issues concerning locus standi in the field of State aid. Following a review of the acts that are subject to challenge, the chapter considers and provides critical remarks regarding key procedural criteria that determine whether a person is entitled to challenge State aid decisions. Specifically, these criteria are: direct concern; individual concern (in relation to actions filed by actual and potential beneficiaries of aid schemes as well as by rivals of aid beneficiaries); and the interest of a person in bringing an action. An evaluation is also provided with regard to the impact of Article 263(4) TFEU, which, following the amendments made by the Treaty of Lisbon, removes the requirement of ‘individual concern’ where challenges are brought against regulatory acts. The peculiarity of State aid Commission decisions is that, unlike those pertaining to antitrust, the Member State’s central authority is the sole addressee of the decision. This principle was established by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Sytraval case and then transposed into Article 25 of EC Regulation 659/99 (the Procedural Regulation). According to this principle, the Member State concerned is the ‘natural’ applicant in any possible subsequent litigation, without having to prove its direct and individual concern with the matter. It follows that the position of the addressee Member State differs from that of third parties.
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