AUTUMN CONFERENCE ON EUROPEAN STATE AID LAW 2015

As the second act of the two-day seminar, The European State Aid Law Institute (EStALI) organized the prestigious "Autumn Conference on European State Aid Law 2015" in the event hall of the co-organizer Pázmány Péter Catholic University on 4th December 2015. More than 50 participants from all of the European Union's 28 Member States and beyond made an appearance at the all-day event. Academics, economists, private legal practitioners and industry representatives attended the conference in order to benefit from exchanging their views on the rules that will guide European State aid control for the coming years.

The first session of the conference commenced with the speech of Szabolcs Takács (State Secretary for European Union Affairs, The Prime Minister's Office, Budapest) who pointed out a close cooperation and harmonisation of the Member States. Gert-Jan Koopman (Deputy Director General State Aid, DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels) proposed the importance of the State Aid Modernisation and the review of the State aid rules. In Koopman's opinion the point of the modernisation is changing the balance of State aid control. In the closing in his presentation Koopman emphasized the necessity to deepen relationship with Member States to able to go forward.

Ottó Czúcz (Judge, General Court of the European Union, Luxembourg) delivered a presentation about the Jurisprudence on EU State Aid Matters by means of selected judgments of the Court of Justice and the General Court of the European Union pronounced between 1st November 2014 and 15 November 2015.

In the second session, the Commission's Tax Rulings were discussed with the specific focus on the most recent jurisprudence on material selectivity. José Luis Buendía Sierra (Partner, EU Law Office Garrigues, Brussels; EStAL Managing Editor) and George Peretz QC (Monckton Chambers; joint chair of the UK State Aid Law Association; UK country correspondent for the EStAL journal, London) spoke about actual and relevant regulation matters through some recent case law on selectivity. In their well-prepared presentations they brought necessary moves into prominence in order to keep up a sophisticated regulation of tax matters. A constructive debate began after presentations moderated by Tihamér Tóth (Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest).

After the lunch break, the third session was an intensive summary of the Commission's effect on the trade package, and the two illustrious speaker Péter Staviczky (Attaché for State Aid, Hungarian Permanent Representation, Brussels) and Leo Flynn (Legal Service, European Commission, Brussels) were speaking about the concept of "trade between EU countries" and the notion of an activity with purely local impact and questions like "Would such change be compatible with the current State aid rules in the Treaty?". As in the first session, Andreas Bartosch (LUTZ-ABEL Rechtsanwalts GmbH, Brussels) was the chair and took the lead of the debate in a facetious and professional way.

In the 4th session Olga Simeon (Regione autunoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, Brussels) and Jan Philipp Otter (Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG, Hamburg) were discussing the regional and infrastructure aid and focused particularly on the recent case law involving regional aid and implications and application of the GBER for infrastructure projects.

The conference attendees could truly update their knowledge of State Aid Law thanks to a number of highly topical presentations from experts. Finally, the Q&A sessions left time for exchange and fireside chat with colleagues from several EU Member States.