Research Handbook on European State Aid Law
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Research Handbook on European State Aid Law

Edited by Erika Szyszczak

This timely new Handbook reflects on current issues that confront State aid law and policy in the EU.
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Chapter 1: Modernization of State Aid Policy

Thibaut Kleiner


Thibaut Kleiner* I. INTRODUCTION When looking at the analysis of State aid policy development in the recent literature, one may be reminded of the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns at the Académie française in the early 1690s. Whereas the Ancients considered that the classical Graeco-Roman culture had reached perfection, the Moderns considered that the writers of the time were able to innovate and to overcome antique authors. A somehow similar debate seems to have gained prominence in the field of State aid, with certain scholars, mostly economists, praising the introduction of a refined economic approach in State aid (Hancher 2006; Heidhues and Nitsche 2006; Röller and Stehmann 2006) as a way towards modernization, and others, essentially lawyers, criticising it as a threat to State aid discipline, and calling for going ‘back to basics’ (Buendia 2006; Buendia and Smulders 2008). This chapter looks critically at the development and structuring of EU State aid policy over the last twenty years, with a particular focus on the State aid reform programme introduced by Commissioner Neelie Kroes through the State Aid Action Plan (SAAP).1 First of all, the chapter presents an analytical framework to examine what can be defined as modernization, on the basis of three models of influence for State aid policy. The chapter then looks at the recent period of State aid reform to analyse to what extent it can be analysed as an attempt towards one type of modernization. Finally the chapter looks at the...

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