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Third presentation session of the state aid project

Following the publication, in July last year, of its latest research work – “State aid in relation to taxes: Spanish experience and current context” – the Tax and Competitiveness Foundation organised the project’s third presentation session.

In association with the Madrid Bar Association, on this occasion, it was essentially an online session, only the organisers and round table guests attending in person. The session focused on the procedural aspects of the state aid rules.

The event was held at the ICAM’s c/ Serrano 9 headquarters and was presided by Gabriel Casado Ollero, the chair of the Tax Law section. After the formal opening comments, two speakers took the floor:

  • 16:20h – 1st speaker – Research and recovery of tax aid (Borja Martínez Corral – KPMG)
  • 16:50h – 2nd speaker – Control of state aid by national judges (Maximino Linares Gil – EY)

Subsequently, for more than an hour, there was an interesting discussion moderated by Isaac Merino Jara (Professor of Finance and Tax Law at the University of the Basque Country), in which María Muñoz de Juan (Office of the Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition) took part, together with the two speakers.

The speakers raised doubts regarding the inadequacies of the current procedural rules, particularly in relation to certain shortcomings in the protection of the rights of enterprises affected by the processing of state aid dossiers and above all in the case of the aid “beneficiaries”, whose status is sometimes confirmed when it is already too late for them to take part in procedures in progress; or the imprescriptibility of actions to recover state aid, once a decision declaring its existence has been made. They also criticised the excessive duration of litigation, which in itself raises concerns as to the effectiveness and suitability of traditional aid recovery solutions that on occasions entail a larger burden in accrued interest than the principal amount of the aid claimed.

The Commission’s representative defended the existing rules against this criticism, particularly the need to maintain the maximum enforceability of the European Commission’s actions, in line with the prevalence of Community law and single market requirements. She argued the need for business sectors to engage in preventive tasks, rigorous analysis of domestic tax legislation and assessment of the risk of its classification as aid.