The goal of the State aid rules is to ensure that there are no distortions in competition between undertakings. Consequently, the primary requirement of recovery of unlawful State aid is to recover it effectively and immediately. For this reason, the recovery of unlawful aid may require the recovery to be extended to an undertaking to which an undertaking that originally received the aid has transferred or sold part of its assets.
The purpose of the article is to examine in which circumstances the recovery may be extended to an undertaking to which an undertaking that originally received the aid has transferred or sold part of its assets. Also, the main legal principles and doctrines behind the recovery process are briefly examined. Especially, the article looks into the recent Commission decisions and EU case law concerning Finnish bus services and Slovakian chemical industry.
In conclusion remarks, it is argued that the buyer should be able to demonstrate, instead of the Commission, that the business transaction certainly takes place at market price. As price of the transfer is just one of the factors that may be taken into consideration, even the market price does not automatically preclude economic continuity if the assets are purchased in their entirety and used in the same manner as before.
Article by associate Tatu Kärhä has been published in Europarättslig tidskrift´s publication 4/2021.
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