Independent State Aid Control in the Enlarged European Union
State aid and its control within the European Union have a long and controversial history. This study looks at the effects and implications of the independence of state aid control arising with the Eastern enlargement process of the EU. Qualitative analysis in case studies is used to supplement a quantitative description of state aid levels in East and West. Findings suggest that in recent years a level playing field across the EU has indeed emerged. In fact, the most pronounced differences in this respect are not observed between CEECs and the EU-15 but rather between Northern and Southern member states. However, the strong and independent status of the EU Commissioner from national influence could be shown clearly – apart from some exceptions.