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Complaints

State Aid control

State Aid Complaint form

Via this page you can lodge a complaint against alleged unlawful State aid. This form is available in 23 languages. Please use the drop-down menu at the top right of the screen to switch to another language.

What is the legal basis?

The "Procedural Regulation": Council Regulation No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Official Journal L 83, 27.03.1999, p. 1-9, as amended by Council Regulation (EU) No 734/2013 of 22 July 2013, Official Journal L 204, 31.7.2013, p. 15-22.

The 'Implementing Regulation': Commission Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 of 21 April 2004 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty (now Art. 108 TFEU), Official Journal L 140, 30.04.2004, p. 1–134, as last amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 372/2014 of 9 April 2014 as regards the calculation of certain time limits, the handling of complaints (in particular the obligation to use the complaints form), and the identification and protection of confidential information.

How can I determine whether a measure constitutes State aid?

Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that, unless otherwise provided in the Treaties, any aid granted by a Member State or through state resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall be incompatible with the internal market, in so far as it affects trade between Member States. Therefore, the following five conditions must be cumulatively met in order to classify a measure as State aid:

  1. Use of state resources
  2. Economic advantage
  3. Selectivity (i.e. the aid favours certain commercial undertakings or the production of certain goods)
  4. Effect on competition
  5. Effect on trade between Member States

If these conditions are not met, you should not lodge a complaint via this website. Please do not use this website to inform the Commission that you have not received State aid.

Who can validly lodge a complaint?

Pursuant to Article 20 of the Procedural Regulation, only interested parties may submit complaints to inform the Commission of any alleged unlawful aid or misuse of aid. To that end, natural and legal persons submitting a complaint pursuant to Articles 10(1) and 20(2) of Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 shall demonstrate that they are interested parties within the meaning of Article 1(h) of that Regulation (see to that end also Article 11a (1) of the Implementing Regulation).

Article 1(h) of the Procedural Regulation defines interested parties as "any Member State and any person, undertaking or association of undertakings whose interests might be affected by the granting of aid, in particular the beneficiary of the aid, competing undertakings and trade associations."

Why is it mandatory to use the complaint form?

Article 20(2) of the Procedural Regulation, as amended by Council Regulation 734/2013, has made the use of a complaints form compulsory. A new complaints form was introduced by an amendment to the Implementing Regulation (Commission Regulation 372/2014). Pursuant to article 11a (1) of the Implementing Regulation, interested parties are required to duly complete the form set out in its Annex IV and provide all the mandatory information requested therein. This new requirement entered into force on 2 May 2014. Its main purpose is to facilitate the handling of complaints by ensuring that the Commission receives all relevant information regarding alleged unlawful or misused aid.

On a reasoned request by an interested party, the Commission may dispense with the obligation to provide some of the information required by the form (Article 11a (2) of the Implementing Regulation). Complaints shall be submitted in one of the official languages of the Union (Article 11a (3) of the Implementing Regulation).

The Commission will ask complainants that have submitted incomplete information to make their views known within a set deadline. In the absence of a timely reply, the complaint will be deemed withdrawn.

How can I send my complaint?
There are two ways:
  1. download the complaint form and send it in either in print by post or by email
  2. fill in the online form and submit it electronically through our website (for technical reasons the online form is temporarily only available in English)

Please do not send the complaint by post or fax if it has already been sent by email or using the online form.

Please submit a non-confidential version of your complaint, without business secrets or other confidential information.

What happens after the complaint is submitted?

You will receive an acknowledgment of receipt of your complaint within 15 working days. The Commission will examine the information provided and inform you of the outcome as soon as possible (see section 7 on 'complaints' of the Code of Best Practice for the conduct of State aid control procedures). Please be aware that, notwithstanding what is provided in section 7.1 of the Code, Article 20(2) of the Procedural Regulation now requires interested parties to duly complete the form set out in Annex IV to the Implementing Regulation and provide all the mandatory information requested therein.

Your non-confidential version of the complaint may be submitted to the Member State for comments. You will be kept informed of the Commission investigation.


Which department/service will deal with the complaint?

Within the Commission, State aid complaints are treated on a decentralised basis by the departments responsible. For more information, see the list of contacts.


Can I bring a case before a national court?

The obligation of Member States to notify planned State aid to the Commission ('standstill obligation') has direct effect, which means that parties affected by State aid granted in disregard of the standstill obligation ('unlawful aid') can bring direct action before national courts. Therefore, natural or legal persons whose interests have been adversely affected by the alleged unlawful aid can pursue the matter before the national courts, which must assess the case regardless of the existence of any parallel procedure before the Commission. Actions before national courts can offer an important means of redress, which can bring immediate relief to the complainant affected by unlawful State aid. Remedies available before national courts include: preventing the payment of unlawful aid; recovery of unlawful aid (regardless of compatibility); recovery of illegality interest; damages for competitors and other third parties; and interim measures against unlawful aid.

Please note however that the Commission cannot offer advice about the national procedures available in individual cases. Further information on the application of State aid law by national courts can be found on this page.


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