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The Law of State Aid in the European Union$
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Andrea Biondi, Piet Eeckhout, and James Flynn

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199265329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265329.001.0001

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Definition of Aid

Definition of Aid

(p.3) 1 Definition of Aid
The Law of State Aid in the European Union

Richard Plender QC

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a discussion on the definition of State aid. The rules in the European Community treaties governing State aids trace their origin to those of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, where the material word is ‘subsidy’. The draftsmen demonstrably employ broad language in stipulating, as a condition of its capture by Article 87(2), that aid must be ‘granted by a Member State or through state resources in any form whatsoever’. The Court of Justice has repeatedly stated that one of the important and defining characteristics of a State aid is the ‘condition of specificity’: in order to amount to aid, the measure must confer assistance or advantage to specific undertakings. A propensity to influence trade between Member States is the standard by reference to which the compatibility of aid with the common market is to be evaluated. In general, recent litigation has drawn attention to a several important difficulties in the definition of State aid.

Keywords:   State aid, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Court of Justice, European Community

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