Public Authority or Economic Activity in the Context of Public Infrastructures: An Assessment of the European Commission’s Policy After Leipzig-Halle

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

The introduction of a more economic approach in State aid control should be viewed as a healthy development. However, before subjecting public spending to the constraints of thorough economic analysis it is necessary to ask whether State aid control is requisite and meaningful at all. A corner stone of this assessment is to determine the dividing line between exercise of public authority and economic activities. In this paper, we raise concerns about the Commission’s recent approach to distinguishing between exercise of public authority and economic activity in the context of general transport infrastructure. The Commission’s approach and notably its new focus on the concept of ‘commercial exploitation’ may overstretch existing case law and thus the notion of aid. It is concluded that the Commission should return to a more nuanced and specific assessment of each activity when it draws this important line.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalESTAL - European State Aid Law Quarterly
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
EventState Aid Control: Where Law and Economics Meet - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Duration: 5 Oct 20185 Oct 2018


ConferenceState Aid Control: Where Law and Economics Meet
LocationVrije Universiteit Brussel
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - State aid, Concept of undertaking, Public authority, Economic activity, General infrastructure

ID: 199415483