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I nationens intresse? EU-rättens reglering av och kommissionens syn på statsstöd till flygsektorn och statliga flygbolag

Eklund, Johannes LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Den europeiska flygmarknaden har under nästan hela 1900-talet dominerats av nationella flygbolag som har subventionerats för att kunna upprätthålla stora linjenät och en hög servicenivå. Flygbolagen var länge undantagna från Europeiska unionens konkurrens- och statsstödsregler men kraven på en avreglering ökade under 1980-talet. Efter en liberaliseringsprocess mellan 1987 och 1993 öppnades marknaden upp för lågprisbolag och EU-kommissionen gavs rätt att kontrollera statsstödet till de statliga flygbolagen.
Konkurrensen från lågprisbolagen har blivit allt tuffare genom åren och många av Europas nationella flygbolag har det senaste decenniet drabbats av stora förluster. Vissa medlemsstater har varit mer benägna än andra att rädda sina... (More)
Den europeiska flygmarknaden har under nästan hela 1900-talet dominerats av nationella flygbolag som har subventionerats för att kunna upprätthålla stora linjenät och en hög servicenivå. Flygbolagen var länge undantagna från Europeiska unionens konkurrens- och statsstödsregler men kraven på en avreglering ökade under 1980-talet. Efter en liberaliseringsprocess mellan 1987 och 1993 öppnades marknaden upp för lågprisbolag och EU-kommissionen gavs rätt att kontrollera statsstödet till de statliga flygbolagen.
Konkurrensen från lågprisbolagen har blivit allt tuffare genom åren och många av Europas nationella flygbolag har det senaste decenniet drabbats av stora förluster. Vissa medlemsstater har varit mer benägna än andra att rädda sina tidigare så prestigefyllda flygbolag med statliga pengar. Den inre marknaden i EU förbjuder åtgärder som snedvrider konkurrensen i strid med det gemensamma intresset och statliga investeringar måste ske på marknadsmässiga villkor. Detta arbete syftar till att undersöka hur statsstödet regleras i unionen och hur kommissionens inställning till stödet har förändrats sedan avregleringen på 1990-talet.
Kommissionsbeslut gällande statsstöd till ett knappt tiotal flygbolag granskas i detta arbete, och utifrån dessa dras slutsatser kring huruvida kommissionens inställning har förändrats över tid. Vid genomgången av de utvalda fallen blir det tydligt att kommissionen har sett generöst på stödet under avregleringens första decennium. Statsstöd har i många fall godkänts för att rädda sysselsättningen i de stora bolagen och i vissa fall med det något långsökta argumentet att konkurrensen skulle stärkas av att vissa blev kvar på marknaden.
Under de senaste åren har kommissionens syn däremot ändrats och det har blivit svårare för medlemsstaterna att rädda sina flygbolag. Det tydligaste exemplet är konkursen av Ungerns nationella flygbolag Malév 2012. Investeringar måste idag ske på marknadsmässiga villkor, något som kommissionen har haft överseende med i de tidiga besluten från 1990-talet.
Vidare granskas om utvecklingen på marknaden är önskvärd med tanke på att låga fasta kostnader, sämre anställningsvillkor och motstånd mot facklig organisering ofta har bidragit till lågprisbolagens konkurrensfördelar. Det konstateras att en utveckling som leder till pressade priser och sämre arbetsvillkor också kan leda till brister i säkerheten och att EU har ett stort ansvar för att konkurrensen mellan lågprisbolagen och de nationella bolagen är sund. (Less)
Abstract
Up until the 1990’s, the European aviation market was dominated by state owned national airlines that were subsidized by their respective states in order to maintain large networks and a high level of service. The airline industry was excluded from EU regulations of competition and state aid. However, higher demands for a deregulation of the market were raised in the 1980’s. After a liberalization process between 1987 and 1993, low cost carriers entered the market and the European Commission were able to control and authorize state support measures to the national airlines.
Increasing competition from the low cost carriers has since then challenged many of Europe's national carriers, which have suffered heavy losses over the last decade.... (More)
Up until the 1990’s, the European aviation market was dominated by state owned national airlines that were subsidized by their respective states in order to maintain large networks and a high level of service. The airline industry was excluded from EU regulations of competition and state aid. However, higher demands for a deregulation of the market were raised in the 1980’s. After a liberalization process between 1987 and 1993, low cost carriers entered the market and the European Commission were able to control and authorize state support measures to the national airlines.
Increasing competition from the low cost carriers has since then challenged many of Europe's national carriers, which have suffered heavy losses over the last decade. Some Member States have been eager to save their prestigious airlines with state funds. The internal market of the European Union prohibits measures that distort competition contrary to the common interest and public investments must be made on commercial terms. This brings me to the main purpose of this essay which is to examine if the Commission's approach towards state aid has changed since the deregulation in the 1990’s.
European Commission decisions concerning State aid are reviewed in this essay. Based on these decisions, conclusions as to whether the Commission's attitude and approach has changed over time are drawn. In the review of the selected state aid decisions, it becomes clear that the Commission has adopted a generous approach to state aid during the first decade of deregulation. State support has been approved in many cases in order to save jobs and some rather far-fetched arguments has been presented, for instance that competition would benefit from the saving of state supported airlines.
In recent years however, the Commission has changed its view and it is today more difficult for Member States to save a national airline. The most obvious example is the bankruptcy of the Hungarian national carrier Malév in 2012. Investments must now be made on commercial terms, something that the Commission was lenient about in the early decisions of the 1990’s.
Furthermore, the essay examines whether the growth of the low cost carriers is desirable, considering their employment conditions and resistance towards labour unions. It is noted that a development leading to depressed prices and poorer working conditions may lead to serious security issues and that the EU has a major responsibility to maintain sound competition between low-cost airlines and national airline companies. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Eklund, Johannes LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
In the Interest of the Nation
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
SAS, EU-rätt, statsstöd, statligt stöd, flygsektorn, kommissionen, flyg, statliga flygbolag, British Airways, artikel 107
language
Swedish
id
4230775
date added to LUP
2014-01-23 08:16:05
date last changed
2014-01-23 08:16:05
@misc{4230775,
  abstract     = {Up until the 1990’s, the European aviation market was dominated by state owned national airlines that were subsidized by their respective states in order to maintain large networks and a high level of service. The airline industry was excluded from EU regulations of competition and state aid. However, higher demands for a deregulation of the market were raised in the 1980’s. After a liberalization process between 1987 and 1993, low cost carriers entered the market and the European Commission were able to control and authorize state support measures to the national airlines.
Increasing competition from the low cost carriers has since then challenged many of Europe's national carriers, which have suffered heavy losses over the last decade. Some Member States have been eager to save their prestigious airlines with state funds. The internal market of the European Union prohibits measures that distort competition contrary to the common interest and public investments must be made on commercial terms. This brings me to the main purpose of this essay which is to examine if the Commission's approach towards state aid has changed since the deregulation in the 1990’s.
European Commission decisions concerning State aid are reviewed in this essay. Based on these decisions, conclusions as to whether the Commission's attitude and approach has changed over time are drawn. In the review of the selected state aid decisions, it becomes clear that the Commission has adopted a generous approach to state aid during the first decade of deregulation. State support has been approved in many cases in order to save jobs and some rather far-fetched arguments has been presented, for instance that competition would benefit from the saving of state supported airlines.
In recent years however, the Commission has changed its view and it is today more difficult for Member States to save a national airline. The most obvious example is the bankruptcy of the Hungarian national carrier Malév in 2012. Investments must now be made on commercial terms, something that the Commission was lenient about in the early decisions of the 1990’s.
Furthermore, the essay examines whether the growth of the low cost carriers is desirable, considering their employment conditions and resistance towards labour unions. It is noted that a development leading to depressed prices and poorer working conditions may lead to serious security issues and that the EU has a major responsibility to maintain sound competition between low-cost airlines and national airline companies.},
  author       = {Eklund, Johannes},
  keyword      = {SAS,EU-rätt,statsstöd,statligt stöd,flygsektorn,kommissionen,flyg,statliga flygbolag,British Airways,artikel 107},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {I nationens intresse? EU-rättens reglering av och kommissionens syn på statsstöd till flygsektorn och statliga flygbolag},
  year         = {2013},
}