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State Aid in the Enlarged European Union. An Overview

In the early phase of transition that started with the 1990s, Central and Eastern European Countries pursued economic restructuring of the enterprise sector that involved massive injections of state support. Also foreign investment from the West and facilitation of the development of a market economy involved massive injections of state support. With their accession to the European Union (EU), levels and forms of state aid came under critical review by the European Commission. This inquiry investigates whether the integration of the new member states operates on a level playing field with respect to state aid. Quantitative and qualitative analysis is relied upon to answer this key, as well as other, related questions. Findings suggest that in recent years a level playing field across the EU has indeed emerged. State aid in the new EU member countries is rather handled more strictly than laxer compared to the ‘old’ EU countries.

23. November 2010

Autoren Jens Hölscher Nicole Nulsch Johannes Stephan

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Abstract

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.

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