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 3: State Aid in the Accession States

Alexander Birnstiel and Helge Heinrich


Alexander Birnstiel and Helge Heinrich I. INTRODUCTION As the title of this chapter indicates, the chapter is intended to give an overview of State aid in the so called ‘accession States’. The term ‘accession States’ refers to European States which either have already become EU Member States during one of the last EU enlargement rounds (the so called new Member States) or which have applied for EU membership and have been granted the status of a candidate State. Accession States are obliged to incorporate the acquis communautaire into their legal system. This obligation applies also to State subsidies and the underlying State aid policy which must comply with the EU State aid framework from the accession date. It may not be expected that most of the measures involving State aid in accession countries can be aligned with the State aid acquis from day one. The accession of new Member States always involves the considerable risk that State aid incompatible with the State aid acquis significantly hampers competition in the common/internal market. In order to avoid such a scenario, it is obvious that a system needs to be developed and applied which allows for a smooth transition from State subsidies in the pre-accession period to State aid compatible with the common/internal market in the post-accession period. This mechanism must entail a fair balancing of the legitimate interests of the EU with regard to safeguarding an undistorted competition in the common/internal market on the one side, and the candidate countries with regard...

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