Chapter 24: General principles in EU state aid law
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This chapter shows how general principles of EU law can both limit the discretion of the Commission in the application of state aid rules, and also support it in its mission to develop a state aid policy for the EU. The analysis reveals two specific features of the use and the existence of general principles of EU law in state aid. First, as expected, general principles of EU law orienting the relationships between individuals and authorities - for instance human rights - and principles underlying the constitutional structure of the Union, such as the principle of conferral or the principle of proportionality, are present in this field. However, the application of these principles in state aid shows that individual rights protection is sometimes sacrificed in the name of effective enforcement of state aid rules by the European Commission. Second, in its attempts to limit the discretion of the European Commission, the Court can elevate specific economic criteria, for example the market economy operator test, to the status of principle.

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