From Negative to Positive Integration: European State Aid Control Through Soft and Hard Law

MPIfG Discussion Paper 08/4

28 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2010  

Michael Blauberger

University of Salzburg, Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (SCEUS)

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

European state aid control, a part of competition policy, typically follows the logic of negative integration. It significantly constrains the potential for Member States to distort competition by reducing their ability to subsidize industry. In addition, this paper argues, ambiguous Treaty rules and heterogeneous Member States' preferences have enabled the European Commission to act as a supranational entrepreneur, not only enforcing the prohibition of distortive state aid, but also developing its own vision of "good" state aid policy. In order to prevent or to settle political conflict about individual decisions, the Commission has sought to establish more general criteria for the state aid which it still deems admissible. These criteria have been codified into a complex system of soft law and, more recently, hard state aid law. The Commission has thus created positive integration "from above" and increasingly influences the objectives of national state aid policies.

Suggested Citation

Blauberger, Michael, From Negative to Positive Integration: European State Aid Control Through Soft and Hard Law (2008). MPIfG Discussion Paper 08/4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1660981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1660981

Michael Blauberger (Contact Author)

University of Salzburg, Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies (SCEUS) ( email )

Mönchsberg 2
Salzburg, Salzburg 5020
Austria
+43-662-8044-7621 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-salzburg.at/portal/page?_pageid=1625,1836014&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

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