The 2019 ‘Fitness Check’ of State Aid Modernisation Reform of 2012—an Opportunity to Redefine and Reintroduce Sustainability into the EU/EEA State Aid Rules? The Example of the Transport Sector
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Faculty of Law 
This article intends to launch a discussion on the possibilities of introducing more sustainability into the rules on granting State aid. State aid law constitutes a crucial part of the internal market regulation. In principle, granting public support to companies is prohibited in the European Union (EU) as such state intervention distorts competition. In some cases, however, aid may be allowed if it pursues a legitimate public policy objective such as research, regional development, transport or environmental protection. In 2017, the EU Member States spent EUR 116.2 billion, i.e., 0.76% of GDP, on State aid at the EU level. While aid to the environment and energy saving promotes sustainability, the question is whether other types of aid also do so. This article provides a brief explanation of the rationale behind State aid control, explains how ‘good aid’ may be approved by the European Commission or EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) before it is granted by the Member States and proposes taking a closer look at the current guidelines for granting aid in the transport sector. This sector has a serious impact on the environment and human well-being, while it is heavily subsidised by the state.