The European Commission has found that a UK tax scheme is partly justified and does not constitute State aid, insofar as it ensures the proper functioning and effectiveness of the relevant tax rules. However, the Commission found that the scheme unduly exempted certain multinational groups from these UK rules targeting tax avoidance. This is illegal under EU State aid rules. The UK must now recover the illegal State aid from the multinational companies that benefited from it.
The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit of EU monitoring of public support granted to the financial sector over recent years. In particular, the auditors will examine how the European Commission ensures that aid remains exceptional and limited to what is strictly necessary. They will also assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of the procedures in place for state aid control.
In 2013, an Italian bank, Banca Popolare di Bari (‘BPB’), expressed an interest in the subscription of additional capital in another Italian bank, Banca Tercas (‘Tercas’), which had been placed under special administration in 2012. In 2014, after satisfying itself that the measures adopted for the benefit of Tercas were economically more beneficial than reimbursement of that bank’s depositors, theFondo Interbancario di Tutela dei Depositi (FITD) decided to cover Tercas’s negative equity and to grant it certain guarantees. Those measures were approved by Banca d’Italia. The Commission initiated a detailed investigation into those measures as it was uncertain whether they were compatible with EU rules on State aid. By today’s judgment, the General Court annuls the Commission’s decision, as it concluded, incorrectly, that the measures granted to Tercas entailed the use of State resources and were imputable to the State.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to Finnish food and drink packaging company Huhtamäki may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules.
The 2018 State Aid Scoreboard, published today by the European Commission, shows the positive role of State aid policy in steering public support towards objectives of common European interest and confirms the benefits of the State Aid Modernisation package.