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 22 languages. Please use the drop-down menu at the top right of the screen to switch to another language.
What is the legal basis?
Council Regulation No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty (now Art.108 TFEU), Official Journal L 83, 27.03.1999, p. 1-9 ("Procedural Regulation")
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 met in order to classify a measure as State aid:
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.
- Use of state resources
- Economic advantage
- Selectivity (i.e. the aid favours certain commercial undertakings or the production of certain goods)
- Effect on competition
- Effect on trade between Member States
Who can validly lodge a complaint?
Interested parties (Article 1(h) of the Procedural Regulation): "any person, undertaking or association of undertakings whose interests might be affected by the granting of aid, in particular […] competing undertakings and trade associations."
Please note that the complainant has to show a legitimate interest in bringing the case before the Commission. The simple fact of having lodged a complaint with the Commission does not mean that the complainant automatically becomes an interested party.
Why is it important to use the complaint form?
The Commission strongly encourages the use of the complaint form to facilitate efficient treatment of complaints. If you have not already filled in the complaint form, the Commission will in principle invite you to do so. To ensure that the Commission receives the necessary information to assess your case, it is very important to fill it in carefully.
The Commission receives and deals with a large number of complaints about the possible granting of unlawful State aid. If the complaint does not contain the necessary information, it might be difficult to identify the competition issues concerned, which may lead to substantial delays in the treatment of the complaint.
How can I send my complaint?
There are two ways:
- download the complaint form and send it in either in print by post or by email
- fill in the online form and submit it electronically through our website
It is not necessary to send the complaint by post or fax if it has already been sent by email or using the online form.
Please do not forget to submit a non-confidential version of your complaint, if it contains 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).
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.