Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Erika Szyszczak
Chapter 16: Judicial Review of Commission Decisions in State Aid
Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alessandro Morini This chapter focuses on annulment procedures brought against Commission Decisions under Article 263 TFEU.1 Reflecting the rapid evolution of key aspects of this litigation, it illustrates and contextualises the background and origins of the problems the case law attempts to address (I) and proposes paths to simplification and rationalisation of the developments of the past years with regard to standing (II) as well as the extent of judicial review (III)2 before drawing general conclusions for the future role of general principles of law (IV) in this area. The chapter shows the increasing importance of information-related general principles of law in this field. I. BACKGROUND Judicial review is an essential aspect of ensuring accountability of the exercise of public power as well as legality of administrative activity, especially, firstly, given that State aid Decisions are often taken in politically highly sensitive areas affecting inter alia Member State tax systems, regional policies or incentives for social developments, to name just a few. The importance of effective judicial review arises also, secondly, from the fact that in State aid cases the Commission decides in the context of an investigative and not an adjudicative procedure, requiring comparatively strict oversight over the exercise of far reaching powers conferred on it. Judicial review in State aid cases, however, takes place in the context of asymmetric information. By nature of the procedural arrangements, the Commission will be made aware by a Member State only of the main issues of an...
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