Ross, Cathryn. (1997) "Conceptualising state aid in the European Union". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
This paper aims to achieve an adequate discussion of the concept of state aid in the European Union, covering its definitional, procedural, case law and wider policy aspects. With regard to the definition of state aid, this paper concentrates on that employed by the European Commission, and discusses the (lack of) transparency of this definition. In searching for a definition of state aid that may be used in the EU context, the paper goes on to consider the procedural aspects of state aid, specifically the obligations placed on member states by the EC Treaty and the strategy of the Commission in ensuring that these obligations are met. Following on from this some consideration is given to the case law surrounding state aid, in an attempt to shed some light on the EU definition of state aid post factum. The policy context of state aid is also explored, specifically in relation to the connections between its categorised variously as industrial policy, competition policy and trade policy, which seem to depend on the specific interests involved in the aid. Although the extent to which state aid may be meaningfully classified as competition policy seems limited, increasing globalisation does seem to be leading governments to take greater account of the extra-territorial effects of their aid measures than previously. Following this and still in pursuit of a definition of state aid, consideration is given to the method employed in relation to aid by both the OECD and GATT/ WTO. Conclusions are drawn which stress the persistent absence of ex ante definitions of aid, and call for future analysis in this area to engage in ‘open exchange’ between the disciplines of law, political science and economics, but also between the spheres of industrial, competition and trade policy.
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