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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 (EU) 2015/1589 of 13 July 2015 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (which replaces Council Regulation No 659/1999), OJ L 248, 24.9.2015, p. 9-29.

The 'Implementing Regulation': Commission Regulation (EC) No 794/2004, as modified inter alia by Commission Regulation (EU) No 372/2014 of 9 April 2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 as regards the calculation of certain time limits, the handling of complaints, and the identification and protection of confidential information, OJ L 109, 12.4.2014, p. 14-22.

The Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community has entered into force on 1st February 2020, (the “Withdrawal Agreement”). During the transition period (until 31 December 2020), pursuant to Article 127(1) and (3) of the Withdrawal Agreement, Union law shall be applicable to and in the United Kingdom, shall produce the same legal effects as those which it produces within the Union and its Member States and shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the same methods and general principles of those applicable within the Union. In addition, any reference to Member States in the Union law shall be understood as including the United Kingdom, pursuant to Article 127(6).

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

For further details, you may also consult the Commission Notice on the notion of State aid as referred to in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Who can validly lodge a complaint?

Pursuant to Article 24 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 12(1) and 24(2) of the Procedural Regulation 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 24(2) of the Procedural Regulation has made the use of a complaints form compulsory. Pursuant to article 11a (2) 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. 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. 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 9 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.

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