State Aid in the Enlarged European Union: Taking Stock

In the early phase of transition that started with the 1990s, Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) pursued economic restructuring that involved massive injections of state support. With reference to the history of state aids in centrally planned economies we display state aid practices of CEECs since full EU membership and analyse whether their industrial policies during and after transition challenged the European state aid legislation and whether these fit into the EUs strategy of ‘less but better targeted aid’. Therefore, 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.

15. March 2012

Authors Jens Hölscher Nicole Nulsch Johannes Stephan

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