On 30 June 2022, the EU institutions reached political agreement on a new regulation which will allow the European Commission to control non-EU government subsidies given to businesses active in the EU (the “Regulation”).

On April 27, 2022, the European Commission (the “Commission”) approved a State aid scheme of €700 million of the French State “to support research, development and innovation projects by companies of all sizes and active across all sectors”[1] (the “French Scheme” or the “Scheme”). The French authorities estimate the number of beneficiaries of the scheme to range between 11 and 50 companies.[2] The scheme will be in place until December 31, 2023.

From this month (January 2022), it will be easier for EU Member States to provide government subsidies (also known as “State aid”) for climate and renewable energy projects.  At the same time, the EU is cracking down on public funding for fossil fuels.

On December 22, 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its annual review for 2021.[1]  As done already on the occasion of the presentation of its Annual Report 2020/2021,[2] the FCO’s President, Andreas Mundt, emphasized again that the protection of competition in the digital economy remains one of the FCO’s top priorities.  He underlined that also merger control will continue to serve as a key tool to achieve this goal.  In addition, he pointed out that the FCO would welcome powers of intervention also with regard to infringements of consumer rights.

On November 18, 2021, the Commission published its communication entitled “a competition policy fit for new challenges” (the “Communication”).[1] The Communication identifies several areas where an adjusted competition policy could help overcome new challenges the European economy is facing. In particular, the Communication discusses competition policy’s role in Europe’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in supporting the European green[2] and digital transition,[3] and in strengthening the Single market’s resilience.

On October 6, 2021, the Court of Justice dismissed eight appeals[1] brought against the 2019 judgments of the General Court, upholding the classification of Spanish tax rules on the amortization of financial goodwill as State aid incompatible with the internal market. The judgments are noteworthy as the Court of Justice, sitting as the Grand Chamber, shed light on the interpretation of the notion of selectivity—one of the cumulative criteria required for a national measure to qualify as State aid contrary to EU law.

On May 12, 2021, the General Court handed down two judgments on the Commission’s review under EU State aid rules of tax rulings in which the Luxembourg tax authorities had clarified in advance how national taxation provisions will apply to specific companies.

Background

On May 5, 2021, the Commission proposed a draft regulation to tackle potential distortions in the internal market caused by foreign subsidies (“Draft Regulation”).[1]