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Konkurrenters rättsskydd vid olagligt statsstöd - ett svenskt dilemma

Holmström, Johanna LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Sammanfattning

Den 1 juli 2013 trädde den nya statsstödslagen i kraft. Den statliga utredning
som dessförinnan tillsattes fick bland annat i uppdrag att analysera om det
behövdes särskilda bestämmelser för att tredje part inför svensk domstol ska
kunna yrka återkrav eller skadestånd under åberopande av genomförandeförbudet i artikel 108.3 FEUF och att lämna förslag på den författningsreglering som eventuellt kunde behövas. Utredningen bedömde att så var fallet och föreslog att en helt ny talerättskatalog skulle införas i den svenska rättsordningen. Regeringen var dock av motsatt uppfattning och Statsstödslagen innehåller därför inga talerättsbestämmelser till förmån för tredje parter. Det är i kontrasten mellan Utredningens och... (More)
Sammanfattning

Den 1 juli 2013 trädde den nya statsstödslagen i kraft. Den statliga utredning
som dessförinnan tillsattes fick bland annat i uppdrag att analysera om det
behövdes särskilda bestämmelser för att tredje part inför svensk domstol ska
kunna yrka återkrav eller skadestånd under åberopande av genomförandeförbudet i artikel 108.3 FEUF och att lämna förslag på den författningsreglering som eventuellt kunde behövas. Utredningen bedömde att så var fallet och föreslog att en helt ny talerättskatalog skulle införas i den svenska rättsordningen. Regeringen var dock av motsatt uppfattning och Statsstödslagen innehåller därför inga talerättsbestämmelser till förmån för tredje parter. Det är i kontrasten mellan Utredningens och regeringens olika synsätt som uppsatsens övergripande EU-rättsliga frågeställning väcks,nämligen frågan om vilka rättigheter som tredje parter kan härleda ur fördragsbestämmelserna på statsstödsområdet och i vilken utsträckning medlemsstaterna har en skyldighet att bereda dem möjligheten att väcka talan vid domstol med åberopande av dessa rättigheter. Med utgångspunkt i vad som framkommer i den delen är uppsatsens syfte att utreda hur Statsstödsutredningens lagförslag förhåller sig till gällande EU-rätt och att klargöra hur regeringens invändningar mot detta kan förstås. Syftet är även att diskutera lämpligheten av Statsstödslagens utformning och att dra slutsatser om hur det gällande rättsläget bör tolkas av rättstillämpningen för att den svenska rättsordningen framledes ska uppfylla EU-rättens krav på statsstödsområdet.

Med avseende på den övergripande frågeställningen framkommer att olagligt
statsstöd kan bli föremål för talan av tredje parter vid de nationella domstolarna som en följd av genomförandeförbudets direkta effekt. Då
genomförandeförbudet innebär en skyldighet för medlemsstaterna att inte bevilja statligt stöd utan att detta först godkänts av kommissionen konstateras
det att den rättighet som tredje parter kan härleda ur detta förbud inte är någon rättighet i traditionell bemärkelse utan snarare utgörs av en rätt att inte drabbas negativt av att olagligt statsstöd utges. Vidare framkommer att det i avsaknad av unionslagstiftning på området som utgångspunkt är upp till de nationella rättsordningarna att fastställa de regler som gäller för väckande av talan vid den nationella domstolen. Dock måste dessa regler uppfylla likvärdighets- och effektivitetsprincipernas krav och de får inte heller stå i strid med den grundläggande rätten till ett effektivt rättsskydd. Vidare konstateras att EUdomstolen har gjort ett antal uttalanden om de nationella domstolarnas roll som kan tolkas som att vissa rättsmedel måste tillhandahållas tredje parter då olagligt statsstöd utbetalats. Bland annat mot bakgrund av att tredje parters rätt till ett effektivt rättsskydd samverkar med intresset av att säkerställa statsstödsrättens effektiva genomslag dras slutsatsen att de krav som uppställs på medlemsstaterna med avseende på tillhandahållande av rättsmedel på statsstödsområdet är särskilt långtgående.

Med anledning av de frågeställningar som uppkommit i den svenska
lagstiftningsprocessen behandlar uppsatsen även frågan om hur EU-domstolens
rättsmedelspraxis förhåller sig till eventuella hinder som den nationella rätten uppställer mot tredje parters talerätt ifråga om olagligt statsstöd. Den
frågeställningen aktualiserar doktrinen om medlemsstaternas processuella autonomi och dess begränsningar i form av effektivitetsprincipen –
innefattande både säkerställandet av statsstödsrättens effet utile och enskildas rätt till ett effektivt rättsskydd. I det avseendet konstateras att EU-domstolen tillämpar ett särskilt avvägningstest vars utfall är beroende av en mängd faktorer och är svårt att förutse.

I den delen uppsatsen applicerar den gällande EU-rätten på de svenska
förhållandena konstateras att Utredningens lagförslag av olika anledningar inte
var strikt nödvändigt, men däremot lämpligt ur ett unionsrättsligt perspektiv.
Vidare riktas kritik mot regeringens bristande ställningstagande till Utredningens slutsatser om vilka rättigheter som tillkommer tredje parter då
olagligt statsstöd utbetalts och hur de ska göras gällande. Det konstateras även att Statsstödslagens utformning delvis är vilseledande ifråga om vad som är gällande rätt.

I en sista utblick kommenterar uppsatsen även det gällande rättsläget. Det
konstateras där att det även fortsättningsvis ankommer på rättstillämpningen att säkerställa statsstödsrättens effektiva genomslag i Sverige och att
Statsstödslagen trots allt bidragit med något förbättrade möjligheter för
rättstillämpningen att tillgodose tredje parters rätt till effektiva rättsmedel. Oklarheter kvarstår dock i vissa avseenden och det föreslås därför
avslutningsvis att rättstillämpningen söker klarhet i dessa genom en begäran
om förhandsavgörande till EU-domstolen. (Less)
Abstract
Summary

On 1 July 2013 the new state aid act entered into force. The preceding Inquiry
had been instructed to consider whether special provisions were needed to
enable third parties to bring actions before the Swedish courts with reference to the standstill obligation in Article 108.3 TFEU, and to leave suggestions for any legislation that might be needed in that respect. The Inquiry deemed such legislation necessary and proposed the adoption of a complete set of remedial rules enabling third party actions to be brought against both the provider and the beneficiary of unlawful state aid. The government however took the opposite view and the State Aid Act does therefore not include a single remedial provision for the benefit of third... (More)
Summary

On 1 July 2013 the new state aid act entered into force. The preceding Inquiry
had been instructed to consider whether special provisions were needed to
enable third parties to bring actions before the Swedish courts with reference to the standstill obligation in Article 108.3 TFEU, and to leave suggestions for any legislation that might be needed in that respect. The Inquiry deemed such legislation necessary and proposed the adoption of a complete set of remedial rules enabling third party actions to be brought against both the provider and the beneficiary of unlawful state aid. The government however took the opposite view and the State Aid Act does therefore not include a single remedial provision for the benefit of third parties. It is the contrast between the different positions of the Inquiry and the government that gives rise to the main question of this thesis, namely what rights third parties can derive from the treaty provisions on state aid and to what extent the Member States have an obligation to provide remedies for claims based on these rights. In consideration of the conclusions derived from the main question, the purpose of this thesis is to analyse how the proposal of the Inquiry relates to EU law and to explain how the position of the government can be understood. The purpose of the thesis is also to discuss the suitability of the State Aid Act and to draw conclusions on how the current legal position shall be interpreted by the Judiciary so as to ensure that the Swedish legal order will meet the requirements of EU state aid law in the future.

In respect of the main question, it is found that unlawful state aid can be
subject to claims brought by third parties before the national courts due to the direct effect of the standstill obligation. Since the standstill obligation implies an obligation on the Member States not to grant aid unless the commission has confirmed its compatibility with the common market, it is concluded that the right that third parties can derive from that provision is not a right in the traditional sense, but a right not to be negatively affected by the granting of unlawful state aid. It is further found that in the absence of Union legislation on the subject, it is in principle for each Member State to determine the rules governing the rights of third parties to bring actions before the national courts. Such rules must however comply with the principles of equivalence and effectiveness as well as the fundamental right of effective judicial protection. Some statements from the case law of the Court of Justice also suggests that certain remedies have to be made available to third parties when unlawful state aid has been granted. Partly with regard to the fact that third parties’ right to effective judicial protection coincides with the Unions interest in ensuring the effet utile of state aid law, it is concluded that the obligations put on the Member States to provide remedies in the filed of state aid law are particularly far-reaching.

Due to the particular queries that arose in the Swedish legislative process, this thesis also deals with the question of how the remedial case law of the Court of Justice relates to potential obstacles that national law might possess for the possibilities of third parties to bring actions against unlawful state aid. That question gives rise to the doctrine on the procedural autonomy of the Member States and its limits imposed by the principle of effectiveness – consisting of both the effet utile of state aid law and the fundamental right of effective judicial protection. In that respect, it is concluded that the Court of Justice applies a particular balancing test, the outcome of which is dependent on a number of factors and which is difficult to foresee.

Where the thesis analyses the Swedish legislative process in relation to EU
law, it is found that the Inquiry’s proposal was not, for different reasons,
strictly necessary, but that it was nevertheless appropriate from a Union law
perspective. Criticism is further directed at the government’s insufficiently
defined position as regards the Inquiry’s conclusions on the rights of third
parties when unlawful state aid has been granted and the remedies they are to
be coupled with. It is also concluded that the wording of the State Aid Act is
partly misleading as to what is the actual position of Union law.

At last, the thesis comments on the current Swedish legal position. It is thus
concluded that it is for the Judiciary to ensure the effective application of state aid law in Sweden and that the State Aid Act has indeed contributed with
somewhat improved possibilities in that respect. Uncertainties remain however
to some extent and it is therefore suggested that the Judiciary seek clarification by submitting a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice. (Less)
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author
Holmström, Johanna LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Judicial protection of competitors in cases of unlawful state aid - a Swedish dilemma
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU-rätt, EU law, Statsstödsrätt, State Aid Law, Statsstödslagen
language
Swedish
id
4230887
date added to LUP
2014-01-30 12:02:18
date last changed
2014-01-30 12:02:18
@misc{4230887,
  abstract     = {Summary

On 1 July 2013 the new state aid act entered into force. The preceding Inquiry
had been instructed to consider whether special provisions were needed to
enable third parties to bring actions before the Swedish courts with reference to the standstill obligation in Article 108.3 TFEU, and to leave suggestions for any legislation that might be needed in that respect. The Inquiry deemed such legislation necessary and proposed the adoption of a complete set of remedial rules enabling third party actions to be brought against both the provider and the beneficiary of unlawful state aid. The government however took the opposite view and the State Aid Act does therefore not include a single remedial provision for the benefit of third parties. It is the contrast between the different positions of the Inquiry and the government that gives rise to the main question of this thesis, namely what rights third parties can derive from the treaty provisions on state aid and to what extent the Member States have an obligation to provide remedies for claims based on these rights. In consideration of the conclusions derived from the main question, the purpose of this thesis is to analyse how the proposal of the Inquiry relates to EU law and to explain how the position of the government can be understood. The purpose of the thesis is also to discuss the suitability of the State Aid Act and to draw conclusions on how the current legal position shall be interpreted by the Judiciary so as to ensure that the Swedish legal order will meet the requirements of EU state aid law in the future.

In respect of the main question, it is found that unlawful state aid can be
subject to claims brought by third parties before the national courts due to the direct effect of the standstill obligation. Since the standstill obligation implies an obligation on the Member States not to grant aid unless the commission has confirmed its compatibility with the common market, it is concluded that the right that third parties can derive from that provision is not a right in the traditional sense, but a right not to be negatively affected by the granting of unlawful state aid. It is further found that in the absence of Union legislation on the subject, it is in principle for each Member State to determine the rules governing the rights of third parties to bring actions before the national courts. Such rules must however comply with the principles of equivalence and effectiveness as well as the fundamental right of effective judicial protection. Some statements from the case law of the Court of Justice also suggests that certain remedies have to be made available to third parties when unlawful state aid has been granted. Partly with regard to the fact that third parties’ right to effective judicial protection coincides with the Unions interest in ensuring the effet utile of state aid law, it is concluded that the obligations put on the Member States to provide remedies in the filed of state aid law are particularly far-reaching.

Due to the particular queries that arose in the Swedish legislative process, this thesis also deals with the question of how the remedial case law of the Court of Justice relates to potential obstacles that national law might possess for the possibilities of third parties to bring actions against unlawful state aid. That question gives rise to the doctrine on the procedural autonomy of the Member States and its limits imposed by the principle of effectiveness – consisting of both the effet utile of state aid law and the fundamental right of effective judicial protection. In that respect, it is concluded that the Court of Justice applies a particular balancing test, the outcome of which is dependent on a number of factors and which is difficult to foresee.

Where the thesis analyses the Swedish legislative process in relation to EU
law, it is found that the Inquiry’s proposal was not, for different reasons,
strictly necessary, but that it was nevertheless appropriate from a Union law
perspective. Criticism is further directed at the government’s insufficiently
defined position as regards the Inquiry’s conclusions on the rights of third
parties when unlawful state aid has been granted and the remedies they are to
be coupled with. It is also concluded that the wording of the State Aid Act is
partly misleading as to what is the actual position of Union law.

At last, the thesis comments on the current Swedish legal position. It is thus
concluded that it is for the Judiciary to ensure the effective application of state aid law in Sweden and that the State Aid Act has indeed contributed with
somewhat improved possibilities in that respect. Uncertainties remain however
to some extent and it is therefore suggested that the Judiciary seek clarification by submitting a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice.},
  author       = {Holmström, Johanna},
  keyword      = {EU-rätt,EU law,Statsstödsrätt,State Aid Law,Statsstödslagen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Konkurrenters rättsskydd vid olagligt statsstöd - ett svenskt dilemma},
  year         = {2013},
}